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NTIA’s interactive broadband card highlights the digital divide

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U quality and cost of broadband issues remain for families in the United States, and the Biden administration wants to draw attention to that unfortunate reality. The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has published what it says is the first interactive public map detailing the “digital division“In broadband access. You don’t just see areas where broadband speed drops below official targets (25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up), but correlate that with high poverty areas. You can search for specific locations, including tribal lands and minority institutions.

As you can see from the image above, the card is not particularly flattering. Lack of benefits is widespread across the country, and they are not as concentrated in specific areas as one might think.

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There is a political motivation behind the paper, of course. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo saw this support for the American Plan of the Biden Project, which includes a “once in a lifetime” effort to connect everyone in the country with fast and accessible Internet access. It’s also a not-so-subtle critique of the previous administration, which suggests that past rural broadband efforts it has not done enough to significantly close the gaps in internet service.

Of course, changing this card for the better will not be easy. In addition to any political obstacles, officials need to refines broadband cards and ensure the cooperation of Internet providers that they have not always been eager to serve rural and low-income areas. The data only underscores the problem – it’s another matter entirely to solve it.

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