The New York Times reports on the National Broadband Map that the Department of Commerce posted yesterday. From the National Broadband Map website: “The National Broadband Map (NBM) is a searchable and interactive website that allows users to view broadband availability across every neighborhood in the United States. The NBM was created by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), in collaboration with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and in partnership with 50 states, five territories and the District of Columbia. The NBM is a project of NTIA’s State Broadband Initiative. The NBM will be updated approximately every six months and was first published on February 17, 2011.”
From the New York Times article:
In rural America, only 60 percent of households use broadband Internet service, according to a report released Thursday by the Department of Commerce. That is 10 percent less than urban households. Over all, 28 percent of Americans do not use the Internet at all.
The report was developed in conjunction with a national broadband map that was also released Thursday, as part of a billion-dollar effort to improve Internet access in the United States, particularly in rural areas.
Pushing America’s digital expansion is a point of emphasis for President Obama, who on Thursday night held a private meeting with Silicon Valley’s elite, including Facebook’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, and Carol Bartz, president and chief executive of Yahoo. His administration has given $7.2 billion in stimulus money toward the effort, including the map, which took five years and $200 million to develop and shows a number of discrepancies in the quality and availability of broadband access between rural and urban communities.
If you’re in a well-connected part of the world, you might easily take these world “flattening” opportunities for granted. Without broadband access, people are missing out, they’re not as informed, they’re less tech literate, and they are being left behind. If the capitol of a state is well-connected and starts switching to online only forms and access to documents, then the not well-connected rural areas of that state is seemingly out of luck, according to this article.
If you want a “Silicon Valley” of innovation to come to your state, connect your state to the Internet with high-speed and affordable connections. Online education, access to world news, and a platform ripe for innovation would be the benefits for your constituents.