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This map shows the dire state of America’s broadband Internet service

June 17, 2021, 5:48 PM UTC

The data demands of consumers are increasing exponentially. But much of America doesn’t have access to the minimum broadband Internet speeds recommended by the Federal Communications Commission.

A new interactive map highlights just how dire the situation is. The map, from the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), depicts areas that clock in below benchmark speeds of 25 megabits per second (Mbps) for downloads and 3 Mbps for uploads. The heartland, much of the Western states, and virtually all of Alaska are seen to fall short.

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The map is based on data from the Census bureau, the FCC, Microsoft, and two Internet speed-testing companies. It’s the first tool to let users graphically compare and contrast the data sources. Users can also overlay tribal lands and areas of poverty, a feature that underscores the digital divide between haves and have-nots.

“As we release this important data to the public, it paints a sobering view of the challenges facing far too many Americans as they try to connect to high-speed broadband and participate in our modern economy,” said U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina M. Raimondo in a press release.

The map will be seen by some as ammo for President Joe Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan. The budget proposal calls for an investment in broadband to bring reliable service to the entirety of the country.

“Broadband is no longer nice to have. It’s need to have. To ensure that every household has the internet access necessary for success in the digital age, we need better ways to accurately measure where high-speed service has reached Americans and where it has not,” said FCC Acting Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel.

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