CNS has created an interactive map that highlights areas that do not have access to 100Mbps (download) and are not in areas that are eligible for federal funding. These are areas that are going to need to hustle to get broadband deployed. These are area that might be in a good position for state grants if/when they are available.
Here’s their press release…
In light of increasing discussions of additional funding for rural broadband, Cooperative Network Service (CNS) has recently created an interactive map to help stakeholders understand which areas of the country that currently do not have access to 100Mbps download speeds.
The map shows areas that (according to the most recently released 477 data) do not currently have 100Mb download speeds AND are not within areas where federal funding mechanisms are currently funding broadband deployment (ACAM I, ACAM II, CAF II Auction, RDOF, USDA ReConnect and Community Connect).
“The goal is to have a visual to use as a starting point (knowing it’s not perfect) for the industry and various stakeholder groups to use when considering rules for upcoming broadband funding programs,” said Paul Solsrud, CNS Product Manager. “We’re seeing many new funding mechanisms to support rural broadband upgrades as a result of the pandemic, at the Federal, State, and Local levels. “If we continue to use 25Mb as the speed threshold for determining which areas get funding, we may find ourselves with excess funding.”
Acting FCC Chair has long been a proponent of higher minimum speeds, saying “We need to set audacious goals if we want to do big things. With many of our nation’s providers offering gigabit service, it’s time for the FCC to adjust its baseline upward, too. We need to reset it to at least 100 megabits per second. While we’re at it we need to revisit our thinking about upload speeds. At present, our standard is 3 megabits per second. But this asymmetrical approach is dated,” in her August 19, 2020 statement regarding the findings of the 16th Broadband Deployment Report and Order. https://docs.fcc.gov/public/attachments/FCC-20-112A1.pdf
Additionally, four Senators, in a March 4th, 2021 bipartisan letter, urge the Biden administration to invest in networks that provide symmetrical 100Mb speeds. https://www.bennet.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/press-releases?id=2C769043-69ED-426B-B30A%5B1%5D57981A4BA333
Included for reference in the interactive map is a layer of areas that are currently unserved by 25Mbps. There are many considerations and variables in creating a map like this, and this does not consider state and local planned projects, and we all know that the available datasets have drawbacks, but the “Overview and Methodology” section in the map explains what’s included and what’s not. Further, layers comparing census blocks with 0 households are included to show unserved areas that did not have at least one housing unit in the 2010 census. Click here to access the map: https://experience.arcgis.com/experience/0dfe06e58ec04e6db9c73c767ca8132b
My annoyance is that because federal funding doesn’t always require 100Mbps, this map is hiding areas that are getting federal funding but are not actually in line for getting an upgrade that will make a difference for long.