Ocean Shores, North Beach and a large section of East County are amongst the areas of Western Washington highlighted in new, interactive map displaying areas lacking quality internet access.
The public “Indicators of Broadband Need” tool released this week by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) puts on one map, for the first time, data from both public and private sources. It contains data aggregated at the county, census tract, and census block level from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), M-Lab, Ookla and Microsoft.
The map, along with data acquired by the State Department of Commerce speed test, will provide useful data for the PUD as it pursues grants for future projects, including expansion on the State Route 12 corridor in East County.
“Any effort to close the digital divide starts with solid data, and NTIA continues to help policymakers make more informed decisions on expanding broadband access,” said Acting NTIA Administrator Evelyn Remaley. “Now, the public can benefit from our platform to see which areas of the country still don’t have broadband at speeds needed to participate in the modern economy.”
The map also puts poverty and lack of broadband access on the same page. The dataset allows you to see where high-poverty communities are located and how that relates to internet usage patterns, as well as to a lack of computers and related equipment. The map also shows usage patterns in tribal communities, which have historically suffered from a lack of internet access. Users can toggle the separate data sets on and off to compare information and search for specific locations, including Tribal lands and minority-serving institutions, to gain a better understanding of where broadband needs are greatest.