NTIA Blog

The National Broadband Map Goes Mobile

January 20, 2012 by Eric Spry, Federal Communications Commission

This week we are happy to announce a new feature of the National Broadband Map that will make it easier to use on your mobile device. This new feature allows anyone on the go to more easily search broadband availability, summarize and rank data, and view a map of community anchor institutions — all optimized for their mobile device.

The mobile browser version of the National Broadband Map is designed to provide a clean, intuitive experience on the screen size of a smartphone. Users swipe across panels of information and can always access additional information by sliding the footer panel up. A convenient sharing panel is also available at the top of each page.

Users are now able to search for local broadband data with their smart phones’ GPS capabilities, if available. Traditional search is also supported, and the results are presented in a new format for mobile devices: in search results, just tap on a broadband provider to see further details and to access our crowdsource voting links.

The Community Anchor Institutions map is the first map we are deploying for a mobile environment. Tap “Search” to enter an address and find the 25 closest facilities. The map will zoom to the request location, and each point will offer information about the facility and any known broadband service details. Watch for additional maps to be included in the future.

Developers will be interested to know that we use the jQuery Mobile framework, and users will appreciate a wide range of supported mobile browsers (see: jquerymobile.com/gbs/). To use the mobile interface, simply visit www.broadbandmap.gov with your mobile device, and it will appear automatically. Links to the complete desktop version are always available on the page footer.

Commerce COMPETES Report: BTOP is Building Infrastructure for the 21st Century

January 06, 2012 by NTIA

The U.S Department of Commerce today released a comprehensive report on “The Competitiveness and Innovative Capacity of the United States.” 

Part of the report explores the federal role in providing a 21st century infrastructure and highlights Administration efforts already underway, including NTIA’s BTOP program, which is expanding broadband access and adoption in communities across the country. 

These projects are already having a positive impact on the lives of Americans: new public computer centers are open, free computer classes and job-trainings are underway, and infrastructure projects are under construction. Already, grantees in NTIA’s BTOP program say that they have deployed or upgraded more than 29,000 miles of broadband infrastructure and installed more than 24,000 workstations in public computer centers. In the last quarter, grantees provided more than 755,000 hours of training to around 220,000 participants.  And grantees say that their programs have already led to a total of more than 230,000 new broadband subscribers.

Deputy Assistant Secretary Anna Gomez discusses the important role of broadband Internet in boosting America’s competitiveness. (Video Transcript)

A Look Ahead to 2012: NTIA by the Numbers

December 30, 2011 by NTIA

In the coming year NTIA will continue its focus on three key areas: expanding high speed Internet access and adoption, freeing up more spectrum for wireless broadband, and promoting policies that preserve the Internet as an engine for innovation and economic growth. Here are some numbers to illustrate these challenges.

 

1.  Expanding High Speed Internet Access and Adoption

High-speed Internet access and online skills are increasingly necessary to compete in today’s economy, yet many Americans are on the wrong side of the digital

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Closing the Digital Divide: Focus on Native American Communities

December 14, 2011 by Anthony G. Wilhelm, Director, Broadband Technology Opportunities Program

Too many Native American communities are on the wrong side of the digital divide, lacking access to broadband Internet service and to the economic, educational, and health care opportunities that it enables. NTIA’s broadband grants program, funded by the Recovery Act, is tackling this challenge by bringing broadband Internet facilities to tribal lands and providing computer training to tribal communities. We awarded grants to five tribal authorities for infrastructure and public computer center projects, a subset of the more than 60 broadband projects that will directly benefit tribal communities throughout the United States. Here are some examples:

·       In the Navajo Nation, an area with rugged terrain and significant poverty, approximately 60 percent of residents lack even basic telephone service. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is now constructing broadband infrastructure that will ultimately cover 15,000 square miles in Arizona, Utah, and New Mexico. Among other benefits, the project plans to connect 49 Chapter Houses, which serve as community centers for the Navajo population, and pave the way to bring telemedicine services, such as remote diagnostics and patient consultations, to this rural population.

 

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority construction crews prepare electric infrastructure for installation of fiber-optic cable

Navajo Tribal Utility Authority construction crews prepare electric infrastructure for installation of fiber-optic cable in the 550-mile broadband infrastructure project.

 

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Report from the Field: A Broadband Bridge to Puerto Rico

November 29, 2011 by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Anna M. Gomez
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Anna M. Gomez

According to NTIA’s National Broadband Map, less than half of Puerto Ricans have access to basic broadband service, which consumers increasingly need to apply for and get a job, access valuable education and healthcare information, and participate in today’s digital economy.

To help fill this gap, NTIA awarded Puerto Rico two Recovery Act grants to expand and enhance broadband infrastructure.  While I was in San Juan earlier this month at the Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce’s Annual Telecom Conference, I had the opportunity to visit one of these projects.

I joined members of Critical Hub staff and Puerto Rico Chief Information Officer Juan Eugenio Rodriguez on a tour of Critical Hub’s data center facilities in San Juan, part of its Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative (PRBI) BTOP project.

Critical Hub Networks, which received a $25.6 million grant, is expanding high-speed Internet access in underserved areas of Puerto Rico by establishing a broadband “bridge” to the United States mainland and deploying a high-capacity middle-mile network on the islands. Additionally, Critical Hub will also offer a 25 percent broadband discount to K-12 schools to help improve education and distance learning.

 

Critical Hub Networks Vice President Karen Larson, Deputy Asst. Secretary Anna Gómez, and Puerto Rico Bridge Initiative Community Outreach Coordinator Leslie Ortíz

Serving Those Who Serve

November 14, 2011 by Anthony Wilhelm, Associate Administrator of NTIA’s Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications
Anthony Wilhelm, Associate Administrator of NTIA’s Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications

In honor of Veterans Day, we are highlighting resources that can help veterans make a successful transition to the civilian workforce, including projects funded by the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and State Broadband Initiative. These Recovery Act programs, overseen by NTIA, are not only expanding broadband access and adoption nationwide, but also offering tools for veterans and their family members who are seeking employment. For example:

Massachusetts Broadband Institute

The Massachusetts Broadband Institute is building a web portal for veterans and their families using funding from the State Broadband Initiative. The project is a collaboration with the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services and the Home Base Program, a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital. The portal will give veterans and their family members one online destination to find links to federal, state, and local services and benefits, including resources on housing, education, and employment. The Massachusetts Broadband Institute, a division of the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, a public economic development agency, will also provide training to help veterans use the portal effectively.

New York State Department of Labor

Broadband Internet Adoption Moves Forward, but Digital Divide Still Persists

November 09, 2011 by

The Economics and Statistics Administration (ESA) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) released a report today entitled “Exploring the Digital Nation:  Computer and Internet Use at Home.” This report investigates broadband Internet use in the United States and finds that disparities continue to exist in broadband Internet adoption among demographic and geographic groups. The report also delves into the reasons why households have not adopted broadband Internet, an important input into the design of policies to achieve a more digitally connected nation. 

We all know that the Internet increasingly plays a key role in our everyday lives, including applying for and getting today’s jobs. Broadband internet adoption has increased substantially in only a few years, rising to 68% of households in 2010 from only 51% of households three years earlier and from 64% in 2009, the last time ESA and NTIA looked at these issues.

While this points to progress, a digital divide still exists between different racial and ethnic groups and between urban and rural areas in the United States.  Broadband adoption rates varied substantially between different racial and ethnic groups, with 81% of Asian and 72% of White households having broadband Internet access, compared to only 55% and 57% of Black and Hispanic households. The urban-rural divide is also wide, with 70% of urban households having broadband Internet access compared to only 57% of rural households.  Socio-economic differences, such as income and education, explain much – but not all – of this divide.

Spotlight on Commerce: Anna M. Gomez, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information

September 28, 2011 by Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Anna M. Gomez
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information Anna M. Gomez

As Deputy Administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, I serve essentially as the Chief Operating Officer of the agency. Though much of my time is spent on management, I also work on public policy, especially the challenges of expanding broadband Internet use in underserved communities and improving communications for the nation’s first responders. I am honored to play a role in addressing issues that are so vital to our nation’s safety and economic future. 

My career path began early. I was born in the United States but spent most of my childhood in Bogota, Colombia, where my father’s family lives. I knew since childhood that I would one day become a lawyer because my mother always told me so. (I would like to think that she recognized in me a precocious talent for logic and deduction, but she was actually commenting on my willingness to argue a point!) I returned to the United States as a teen and did indeed go to law school. I am glad that I did because the law is a good foundation for a career in public service, though it is certainly not mandatory.

My first full-time job was in the litigation group of a law firm. I enjoyed it but wanted to practice communications law instead. While at the firm, I ran the D.C. Hispanic Bar Association’s mentoring program for Hispanic law students. It brought me to the attention of a partner at the firm, who soon went to work at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). I joined her at the FCC, where my communications policy work began.

I worked at the FCC for 12 years, serving in various management positions, including Senior Legal Advisor to former FCC Chairman William Kennard. In between positions at the FCC, I served as a staffer on Capitol Hill and at the National Economic Council. Before returning to government in 2009, I also worked several years in the telecommunications industry.

The National Broadband Map Gets an Update

September 21, 2011 by Anne Neville, Director of NTIA’s State Broadband Initiative

Earlier this year, we launched a ground-breaking interactive online map that shows what high-speed Internet services are available across the country. Like the spread of railroads and electrification spurred new economic opportunities during America’s past, broadband is supporting new economic opportunities in America today. Experts agree that we must better understand where sufficient broadband exists in order to address where it does not.

The National Broadband Map, powered by a searchable database of more than 20 million records, has already drawn more than 500,000 different users. Today we are rolling out the first significant update of the map since it was unveiled in February. The map has new data, current as of December 31. And the number of broadband providers supplying that data has increased to 1,731, up from 1,650 at launch.

Most of these new additions are small providers, including rural companies in places as varied as Alaska and Massachusetts, that may not be household names. Including them in the map will help ensure that consumers shopping for broadband service are aware of all their options.

In addition, the map now offers a new research tool that produces snapshots of individual broadband providers, showing where they offer service, what speeds they offer, and how much of the country – or of a particular state or county – they cover.

The map is an ambitious, unprecedented undertaking – the result of the most extensive set of American broadband availability data ever published – and it is only possible because of a unique federal-state-private partnership. NTIA created and is updating the map twice yearly in collaboration with the FCC, using data that every state, territory, and the District of Columbia (or their designees) collects from broadband providers or other sources.

NTIA: Small Agency, Big Impact

September 15, 2011 by Lawrence E. Strickling, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and Administrator, National Telecommunications and Information Administration

In the 21st century global economy, America’s competitiveness requires a modern communications infrastructure, a technology-savvy workforce, and public policies that preserve the Internet as an engine for job creation, innovation, and economic growth.  NTIA’s activities–at a cost of about a penny per month for each American–represent a modest yet critical investment in our economic future, one that can pay dividends for decades.


Broadband Internet is an essential ingredient not only for job creation but also for improving education, public safety, and health care. Consider this:

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