February 4, 2013 By Amy Stewart
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has released an updated map of broadband availability across the United States, according to information posted by Anne Neville, director of the State Broadband Initiative.
According to the latest data collection, current as of June 30, 2012, 98 percent of Americans have access to wired or wireless broadband with download speeds of at least 3 Mbps and upload speeds of at least 768 kbps. Wireless speeds of at least 6 Mbps are available to 81 percent of the country.
Both federal and state government participated in the project, as well as the voluntary participation of broadband Internet providers. Each state located broadband availability by census block, which includes an average population of 28 people and divided the country into more than 11 million distinct areas to check for broadband availability.
Users can search for specific communities on www.broadbandmap.gov and analyze the data by comparing different regions or providers.
NTIA, part of the United States Department of Commerce, launched the National Broadband Map two years ago and has updated it every six months.
All over the country, community leaders are looking to boost economic development through various initiatives. One key element in many of those initiatives is the use of information technology. When local governments build IT infrastructure, create e-government applications, assist high-tech startups or otherwise focus on technology, they create conditions that draw businesses to their communities and help retain skilled workers. This paper discusses and provides examples of these various ways local government can use technology to ultimately make a community more attractive to businesses, visitors and residents.