Mapping debates on Connected Nation continue

The Washington St Journal ran an article on the Connected Nation maps. The big sticking point is that Connected Nation has ties to big telecommunications providers. There have been problems with their maps. Small providers claim they aren’t represented on the maps. Communities claim that their broadband access is overstated.

Mostly I avoid the debate – because I’m used to working with the hand I’m dealt and Minnesota has been dealt Connected Nations maps. Last fall, Connected Nation was hired to map broadband access in the state. They came out with preliminary reports in February indicating that 92 percent of the state has broadband.

It was interesting to see how often the CN maps came up in the paragraphs written by Minnesota Ultra High-Speed Broadband Task Force members. Some questioned their results; other quoted them. At the end of the day, I think the legislators will pay attention to the report, because they’ve paid for it.

I did find it interesting (in the WSJ article) that Kentucky seems to have become less and less enamored with CN.

Also while referring to the Kentucky report, WSJ said that, “Connect Kentucky says its maps include data from more than 300 Internet providers and disputes it left smaller carriers off its maps.” I spoke to CN last winter and they told me that there were about 100 providers in Kentucky. So, 300 seems strange. I remember the number because they were expecting to talk to 225 providers in Minnesota – that number was changed to about 100 – the reason being that apparently once they looked at the list many ISP were merely resellers, subsidiaries or different names for other companies. So I understood that change – but I don’t understand this discrepancy.

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About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

3 thoughts on “Mapping debates on Connected Nation continue

  1. Pingback: Update from Connected Nation « Blandin on Broadband

  2. I’ve got to agree with the WSJ…the issues they raised are very important issues that Connected Nation has dealt with since their inception. The CN model is flawed because of their dependence on aggregated data. The large telecoms have downsized and do not have electronic information to participate in any type of mapping programs. Because of this problem the large telecoms have taken up for CN because it helps cover for their lack of infrastructure knowledge…other than field personnel at that locale. We have the same problem here in Tennessee where CN has been hired. They released a similar statistic of 90% coverage…but when pressed it was shortened to 53% covered and they include fixed wireless which is not considered a reliable source of fixed broadband! CN defines broadband coverage as in people not actual geographic coverage thus getting an overstated result. The goal of most of these programs is to get broadband to areas that are “underserved” one provider or no service at all. This primarily happens only in the rural or very urban areas.

    Our company follows that of the CA mapping model with an e-NC model to aggregate demand for broadband. The Connect-Arkansas uses a similar model and has the gotten support of all the providers in the state.

  3. Thanks – it’s valuable to hear from folks who have worked with CN in other states.

    Was CN able to use their own stats to get from 90 to 53 percent? Is there any way you could provide info on how that was done?

    I know that in MN they were asked to give info on county-wide level, which as you say obscures a lot of data. They have said in MN that the info is available on a more granular level – but that often it hasn’t been (or won’t be) balanced with end consumer testing. I wonder what more granular info would look like here.

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