The states of Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, and South Carolina are now providing easy-to-use maps that show in detail each state’s broadband coverage. The interactive, online maps are made possible by BroadbandStat, an application based on ESRI geographic information system (GIS) technology, and will help the states plan and improve high-speed Internet access for their residents and businesses. The BroadbandStat maps were funded by grants from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) and contribute to the comprehensive national broadband map that NTIA is required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to create and make publicly available by February 2011.
“A complete, interactive broadband map is now available for customers, Internet service providers, and policy makers,” said Orjiakor Isiogu, chairman of the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC), about the new map hosted on the Connect Michigan Web site. “This is an important first step as the state seeks to target resources to those areas of the state without high-speed Internet service.”
Interactive tools include the ability to identify the population density and unserved households in a selected area, link to news about broadband-related projects, and create reports and charts.
MPSC received a $1.8 million NTIA grant to launch its broadband mapping and planning initiative. Over the next 18 months, Michigan’s initial BroadbandStat map will be updated and refined as additional data becomes available. Connect Michigan, Connect Minnesota, Connect Nevada, and Connect South Carolina are the entities tasked with collecting the data and producing their states’ online maps. All are affiliated with the nonprofit Connected Nation organization, which partnered with ESRI to create BroadbandStat.
Connect Nevada was awarded $1.4 million in stimulus funds through the NTIA for broadband mapping and planning. Nevada’s broadband map includes data collected on the availability, speed, location, and type of broadband services from more than 35 state broadband service providers.
During the inauguration of his state’s BroadbandStat map, Nevada governor Jim Gibbons said, “Nevadans will now have a map that not only puts information about available broadband services at their fingertips but also defines where the state and the private sector need to focus their attention to bring high-speed Internet to every part of our state.”
Connect Minnesota and Connect South Carolina worked with their state broadband service providers to accurately pinpoint remaining gaps in broadband availability across the state. They also collected data from community anchor institutions such as schools, universities, libraries, hospitals, and public safety facilities, which are potential sites for providing community access to broadband services.
For links to each state’s interactive maps and more information on BroadbandStat, visit www.esri.com/bbstat.
[Source: ESRI press release]