Connected Tennessee Releases New Broadband Availability Figures In Support Of GIS Day 2013

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New research released Wednesday by Connected Tennessee in support of GIS Day 2013 shows 82% of Tennessee households now have access to broadband service of at least 100 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload, an increase of 40.5% in just two years.

GIS Day celebrates the use of geographic information systems (GIS) to analyze diverse topics in local, state, federal, and international applications. GIS is used daily as an essential part of Connected Tennessee’s mission to inform and advance the understanding and utilization of broadband services. Connected Tennessee collects and processes broadband coverage information from Internet service providers and then aggregates that coverage to create a comprehensive display of where broadband is and is not available. The resulting analyses of maximum download speed, density of unserved households, and others are created using GIS to enable decision makers.

Connected Tennessee released the first statewide broadband inventory in 2007 and this marks the eighth comprehensive broadband data refresh since the State Broadband Initiative program, funded through the U.S. Department of Commerce, began in 2010.

Additional findings from the new research include:

  • The relevant metric the FCC uses to determine eligibility for Connect America Fund subsidies is fixed terrestrial broadband service at speeds of least 3 Mbps download/768 Kbps upload; in Tennessee availability at this threshold is currently at 92.71%.
  • Rural broadband availability at 3 Mbps download/768 Kbps upload increased from 96.41% in April 2013 to 98.44% in October 2013, an increase of 2.03%(including mobile wireless, but excluding satellite services).
  • Fixed wireless broadband availability at the most basic speed of 768 Kbps download/200 Kbps upload increased from 15.52% in April 2013 to 20.46% in October 2013, an increase of 4.94%.
  • 98.47% of Tennessee’s households now have access to broadband service of at least 10 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload; this is an increase of 8.22% from October 2011 (including mobile wireless, but excluding satellite services).
  • 99.18% of Tennessee households have access to broadband speeds of 3 Mbps download/1.5 Mbps upload as of October 2013 (including mobile wireless, but excluding satellite services).

“GIS is an incredibly powerful tool that assists Connected Tennessee to better analyze and understand Tennessee’s broadband landscape, enhancing our mission to increase broadband access, adoption, and use in our state,” said Corey Johns, Connected Tennessee executive director. “Without GIS, it would be very difficult to correctly identify unserved and underserved areas of the state and much more challenging to bring the twenty-first century connectivity to those who need it most. With 82% of Tennessee households now able to access broadband service of at least 100 Mbps download and 1.5 Mbps upload, GIS tools help confirm that we are heading in the right direction.”

Research and maps are available through an innovative broadband mapping tool called My ConnectView offering unmatched views of Tennessee’s technology landscape. Residents and businesses are encouraged to use the interactive map to find area providers and help validate the data. To report desire for broadband service that is not available in a given area, consumers can fill out a broadband inquiry.

Connected Tennessee’s research was conducted as part of the State Broadband Initiative grant program for Tennessee, funded by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The data were gathered in accordance with the requirements of the NTIA. The process begins by contacting all known providers in the state and providing information about the broadband mapping project. Information on broadband service areas is collected from each provider through voluntary participation and is subject to confidentiality protections. The data is then independently verified through engineering studies, site visits, propagation models, and consumer feedback. The FCC is using this data to direct broadband subsidies. More information about the broadband mapping process is provided in the Broadband Mapping FAQ.

Connected Tennessee will continue to update broadband provider service areas and conduct detailed research on the data; working in collaboration with Tennessee broadband providers helps determine the true extent of the available network more accurately. Connected Tennessee also conducts independent, ongoing validation of the broadband service data submitted by the provider community.

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