Building a better broadband map | North Carolina | Indy Week
Pin It

Building a better broadband map 

The e-NC Authority made great strides toward closing the digital divide when it began one of the first efforts to map access to broadband Internet service statewide. Its most recent interactive map uses Geographic Information System (GIS) layers of roads, county lines and other data. But e-NC makes its maps based on the data shared by Internet service providers. Many of those private companies are willing to share that data only under conditions of confidentiality—they say they need to keep the data out of the hands of competitors. That leaves gaps in the maps.

Those same companies recently hired Connected Nation, a nationwide nonprofit with strong industry ties, to do a separate statewide mapping project in North Carolina. The map is expected to be available by April. For a sneak peek, check out the GIS map created by Connect Kentucky, where the organization began. (Connect's maps include access to wireless services; e-NC's include only wireline.) The source of the data remains the same, though the industry claims it is more comfortable providing that data to third-party Connected Nation than to the state authority e-NC.

But critics say Connected Nation's involvement doesn't solve the problem: State policymakers will use data that can't be independently verified when spending taxpayer money to subsidize broadband networks, with no evidence the private companies accomplish what they promise to do.

Is there another way?

Yes, says the organization Windows on the World e-Community Development Corporation (WOW e-CDC), based in Roper, N.C. The group worked with Elizabeth City State University to produce a study of 21 northeastern counties, surveying residents and checking utility poles and switching stations instead of relying on the data provided by Internet service companies.

WOW Executive Director Bunny Sanders said the $30,000 study, funded with state money, showed 10 percent to 20 percent more households did not have broadband access than were reported by e-NC.

At the Indy's request, WOW provided this sample of the study (PDF, 3.5 MB), which includes Halifax and Nash counties.

Sanders says her group's study demonstrates data from providers tends to be inaccurate, and she argues that if the state really wants a clear picture of where Internet access is available, it needs data that is independently verifiable.

Comments

Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

INDY Week publishes all kinds of comments, but we don't publish everything.

  • Comments that are not contributing to the conversation will be removed.
  • Comments that include ad hominem attacks will also be removed.
  • Please do not copy and paste the full text of a press release.

Permitted HTML:
  • To create paragraphs in your comment, type <p> at the start of a paragraph and </p> at the end of each paragraph.
  • To create bold text, type <b>bolded text</b> (please note the closing tag, </b>).
  • To create italicized text, type <i>italicized text</i> (please note the closing tag, </i>).
  • Proper web addresses will automatically become links.

Latest in North Carolina



Twitter Activity

Comments

SO, reward capitalists for being stupid enough to put facilities in flood plains?
JFC, who comes up with this …

by dodahman 1 on The Neuse River Is Sick, and Advocates Blame the Pork and Poultry Industries (North Carolina)

looking for single wide trailer i durham county granville creedmoor or wakke forestsmall wooded lot prefered contac johnhayes
641@yahoo.com …

by John Hayes on Abandoned mobile homes plague North Carolina (North Carolina)

Most Recent Comments

SO, reward capitalists for being stupid enough to put facilities in flood plains?
JFC, who comes up with this …

by dodahman 1 on The Neuse River Is Sick, and Advocates Blame the Pork and Poultry Industries (North Carolina)

looking for single wide trailer i durham county granville creedmoor or wakke forestsmall wooded lot prefered contac johnhayes
641@yahoo.com …

by John Hayes on Abandoned mobile homes plague North Carolina (North Carolina)

Its now 2017. Anyone have any free mobile homes? It doesnt matter if they need fixed up or not. We …

by William Josiah on Abandoned mobile homes plague North Carolina (North Carolina)

How can I go about trying to get a 3 or 4 bedroom double or triple wide mobile home. Me …

by Taetae on Abandoned mobile homes plague North Carolina (North Carolina)

One sentence from this article -- "Democrats tend to cluster in urban areas" -- if examined by a journalist or …

by Lee Mortimer on Can Republican-Sponsored Redistricting Reform Save North Carolina’s Democracy? (North Carolina)

© 2017 Indy Week • 320 E. Chapel Hill St., Suite 200, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
RSS Feeds | Powered by Foundation