In recognition of the fact that broadband is a significant engine for economic development and important for the nation, be it for job growth, health care, education or entertainment and recreation, the State Broadband Data Development (SBDD) program, now called the State Broadband Initiative (SBI) was launched in 2009-2010 using American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 funds. The U.S. Federal government (through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration or NTIA in the U.S. Department of Commerce) provided grant funds to each State or its designated entity to create a map of broadband availability and infrastructure for each State. The State maps and subsequent data delivered to NTIA became the basis of the National Broadband Map which is compiled by the NTIA and Federal Communication Commission (FCC) and hosted at www.broadbandmap.gov.
At a high level, this program’s goal is to collect broadband data (information about availability of service, type, speed, etc. as well as infrastructure location from individual broadband service providers), process it to a consistent central data repository and geospatial data model, validate the data and finally integrate it into a statewide delivery. The program also requires each state to provide public access to non-confidential data through an interactive mapping site. This program also collects broadband information about institutions such as schools, colleges, hospitals, and governmental facilities—such geospatial data include location information as well as information about broadband access for these institutions.
GIS is used as an integrative framework for geospatial data collection, processing, validation, visualization, and analysis. Data is collected twice a year and the program encompasses funding for five years of data updates. Sanborn has played a significant role in developing state broadband maps under contract to the States of Georgia, Oklahoma and Washington.
- A web-based contact and data logger customized to measure every interaction and data provided by participating and non-participating providers of broadband in each state.
- A Provider Portal that providers can use to create GIS data online, review processed data that Sanborn has created and provide feedback through mark-up tools.
- An online crowd-sourcing tool for anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals, colleges, government buildings and other non-governmental buildings to provide information about their own location, Internet subscriptions, speed, technology, etc.
- A speed test that can be deployed from various places in these applications so that users can see results on a map in conjunction with other speed tests run by others in their respective state.