As part of its on-going data collection and mapping work, The e-NC Authority has officially launched its newly updated online map to show where broadband is available across the state. The map is accessible from the homepage of www.e-nc.org.
Plotting data down to the census block level and street segment level in some areas, the North Carolina Broadband Map is a highly-interactive GIS (Geographic Information System) tool that outlines what types of broadband technologies - including DSL, cable, mobile, wireless and fiber - are available to households statewide, which companies are offering these services and the exact areas providers say they are currently serving or could serve customers. Users query information by plugging in a street address or selecting a specific technology type. The map is also intended to assist e-NC and state and local leaders in identifying unserved and underserved pockets of broadband availability in North Carolina.
"In this day and age, especially for those in rural areas, having access to broadband is critical to stimulating individual and community-based economic growth," says e-NC's Executive Director Jane Smith Patterson. "In order to stay ahead, households and small businesses need to be connected in today's rapidly changing, technology-driven world. Tracking this data will not only allow citizens to find out whether they have the option of service or what broadband opportunities are available to them, but also provide e-NC with information that will help us uncover what areas still lack Internet access so we can continue our push for solutions to ensure all citizens are afforded with equal broadband prospects."
Michael Baker Jr., Inc. designed and constructed the map interface. Participating service providers supply e-NC with coverage data. Additional methods of collecting information are being tested to potentially enhance and refine the map data over time.
Funding for e-NC's mapping efforts comes from a five-year grant awarded by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) of the U.S. Department of Commerce. Matching funds are provided by e-NC through its state operating funding from the North Carolina General Assembly, from Golden LEAF, the NC Center for Geographic Information & Analysis (CGIA), and from several participating universities including UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Chapel Hill, UNC-Charlotte and East Carolina University. As part of its grant requirements, e-NC must collect and submit specific requested data to NTIA every six months. This information is then funneled into a national broadband map that is scheduled for launch by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in February 2011.
About The e-NC Authority
Broadband is critical for communities to thrive in today's globally competitive environment. The e-NC Authority, the state's broadband authority, finds and advocates for solutions to ensure that all North Carolina citizens and businesses increase broadband adoption and usage and have equal access to affordable, high-speed broadband. e-NC is responsible for mapping and tracking broadband availability and providing technical assistance for local initiatives to support technology-based economic growth. e-NC also develops applications and promotes the benefits of broadband investments around commerce, education, healthcare, agriculture and government services to demonstrate greater economic opportunities. Its direct services and efforts to endorse greater broadband deployment - including the work that's done within the seven Business & Technology Telecenters that are affiliated with e-NC's Rural Technology Innovation System - continue to enable job creation. e-NC focuses on rural counties and distressed urban areas, accomplishing its work through public-private partnerships, targeted research and direct outreach and education. For more information, visit www.e-nc.org.Read the full article