The Center for Innovative Technology (CIT) announces the release of the latest edition of the Virginia Broadband Availability Map which includes several new dynamic features. The new map, a product of CIT and its partners, Virginia Tech’s Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT) and the Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN), is a result of the team’s experience working hand-in-hand with local and state government officials to address broadband access deficiencies.
The Virginia Broadband Availability Map is an interactive map that allows users to search by address or locality to identify where broadband services may be available and which providers are providing service in the area. The data behind the map comes from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which receives data directly from the broadband providers.
The first-generation map, released in 2008, was the only state map in the U.S. to be based on “address-level” data, and developed at no cost to the citizens. This initiative placed Virginia among the national broadband mapping leaders, and provided the basis for current broadband initiatives.
As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), in 2010 the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) awarded CIT and partners, VGIN and CGIT, a State Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant which provided just under $4 million for broadband mapping. Data collected through this project was used to fuel both the Virginia Broadband Map as well as the National Broadband Map. The National Broadband Map is now unfunded and out-of-date making the need for the Virginia Broadband Map even greater.
The latest edition of the map is contained within Virginia’s Integrated Broadband Planning and Analysis Toolbox (ITBX) and allows users to view RUOnlineVA data, population density, vertical assets, and other themes all in comparison to broadband availability. The new features were added to better assist state and local officials in the broadband assessment and planning process.
In addition to the map, the ITBX includes a map book portal and a broadband policy database. The map book portal allows users to create downloadable maps displaying various broadband planning themes and the policy database allows users to select a location and view all of the broadband-related policies that pertain to that location.
The Virginia Broadband Availability Map is part of CIT’s ongoing effort to provide technical assistance to local governments and state agencies to expand broadband capacity and access and improve utilization. The new map can be found at https://broadband.cgit.vt.edu/IntegratedToolbox/.