The definition of broadband continues to evolve but generally refers to high-speed Internet access that is always on and faster than the traditional dial-up access. Broadband technologies can be both wireless (e.g. mobile or satellite) and wireline (e.g. Cable and others). Broadband speed definitions have also changed over time and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) most recently changed their definition of broadband in 2015 to 25 Mbps (megabits per second) downstream and 3 Mbps upstream (see https://www.fcc.gov/document/fcc-finds-us-broadband-deployment-not-keeping-pace). 

Until late 2014, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) collected and disseminated broadband coverage data at the federal level through its State Broadband Initiative (SBI).  Then the responsibility transitioned to the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) which collects broadband data through its 477 data collection program.  Under the SBI, wireline (e.g. Cable) broadband data was collected at the census block level in urban areas (as defined by the US Census Bureau).  This meant that if a provider indicated they served even a single address in a given census block, the entire census block would appear as served.  However, in rural areas, the SBI required the data be collected at the higher resolution of ‘road segment’ (that is a portion of a road between two consecutive crossroads).   The reason for the higher resolution in rural areas was because census block sizes are based on population density and so are generally much larger in rural areas.  Using a ‘road segment’ specification thus provided a more accurate coverage estimate in rural areas, which typically have less broadband coverage.  One of the main changes the FCC made in its collection program was to standardize wireline broadband collection to census blocks in all areas.  The effect was to increase the apparent wireline broadband coverage in rural areas across the nation.

As indicated by the digital.georiga.gov/map splash screen, the site shows legacy data from the National Telecommunications and Information Administration’s (NTIA) State Broadband Initiative (SBI) program.  Please visit the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) site at https://www.fcc.gov/general/broadband-deployment-data-fcc-form-477 for the latest data or their related maps for online visualizations https://www.fcc.gov/maps/fixed-broadband-deployment-data/index.html

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) makes available for download the broadband data it collects at https://www.fcc.gov/general/broadband-deployment-data-fcc-form-477 and has a number of related maps available at https://www.fcc.gov/maps/fixed-broadband-deployment-data/index.html.