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National Broadband Map Shows Digital Divide 182

Hugh Pickens writes writes "PC Magazine reports that the Commerce Department has unveiled a national broadband inventory map, which will allow the public to see where high-speed Internet is available throughout the country. Users can search by address, view data on a map, or use other interactive tools to compare broadband across various geographies, such as states, counties or congressional districts. Commerce officials say the information can help businesses decide if they want to move to a certain location, based on broadband availability. The map, costing about $200 million and financed through the 2009 Recovery Act, shows that 5-10 percent of Americans lack broadband access at speeds that support a basic set of applications. Another 36 percent lack access to wireless service. Community anchor institutions like schools and libraries are also 'largely underserved,' the data finds, and two-thirds of surveyed schools subscribe to speeds lower than 25 Mbps and only 4 percent of libraries subscribe to speeds greater than 25 Mbps. 'The National Broadband Map shows there are still too many people and community institutions lacking the level of broadband service needed to fully participate in the Internet economy,' says Larry Strickling, assistant secretary of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). 'We are pleased to see the increase in broadband adoption last year, particularly in light of the difficult economic environment, but a digital divide remains.'"

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