Sunday, July 12, 2009

States Updating Broadband Info

Connect Minnesota, a non-profit group partnering with the state, released an updated version of the statewide broadband inventory map that illustrates the extent of broadband services available across the state. The map shows that broadband availability data from 110 broadband providers across the state will serve as a key asset for the state as it prepares for federal stimulus funding to support broadband investment.

The Connect Minnesota broadband map was created through a collaborative, public-private approach to broadband mapping as prescribed by Congress in the Broadband Data Improvement Act of 2008. The map illustrates broadband service availability based on information from all types of providers across Minnesota, and shows where the service gaps are located that remain in rural and other hard to reach locations.

Through a rigorous system of broadband data collection, GIS analysis, and data verification, the mapping project shows that broadband service is currently available to 94% of Minnesota households statewide. This leaves 97,282 Minnesota households that are not served by any broadband provider.

Connected Nation a national non-profit organization conducted a recent study to study the impact of public private broadband expansion programs funded through the Broadband Data Improvement Act and ARRA. The study found that a comprehensive grassroots driven program for increased broadband access and used in Minnesota could result in a total economic impact of $2.8 billion through the creation of more than 48,000 jobs and result in cost savings in areas such as healthcare, the environment, and by telecommuting.

Governor Timothy Kaine unveiled Virginia’s first broadband availability map now available online. The state coverage map resulted from recommendations made by the Broadband Roundtable convened by the Governor in 2007 to plan to develop at no cost to the state a last mile telecommunications blueprint.

The development of the map is a collaborative effort between the Center for Innovative Technology, the Virginia Information Technology Agency, the Office of Telework Promotion and Broadband Assistance, and the voluntary participation of more than 25 broadband providers throughout the Commonwealth.

Commonwealth officials are actively monitoring the situation and are working to position state projects for broadband funding opportunities. The Governor’s Broadband Advisory Council will keep advising the Governor on policy and funding priorities related to broadband access in the state.