As Camoin Associates has detailed many times in our broadband series (here), a reliable internet connection is vital for business in the 21st century. The most creative entrepreneurs would have a difficult time getting their message to market without the internet. We often speak with local governments about how to expand their broadband reach, but the first step is figuring out the existing status of broadband in a community. To do that, we've found that http://broadbandnow.com/ is a great tool. The goal of the website is to make publicly available data on broadband service easier to understand and easier to reach. The website boasts that they've sifted through 453 million rows (!!!) of data to boil it down to what consumers and local governments need to know.
The only information that you need to input is your zip code, and the website churns out internet providers for residential, business, mobile and satellite. The data below is a sample from inputting Saratoga's zipcode, 12866. Valuable consumer knowledge like pricing, as well as speeds and availability are easily displayed. Additional broadband stats are also noted, like 40% of residents in Saratoga County have access to fixed wireless internet service. Or that 74% of New Yorkers have access to broadband 100 mbps or faster. You can also compare your region to nearby locations, which is a key tool for businesses deciding where to locate. Breaking down availability by category is also important to understand barriers that may exist for certain groups but not others. Maybe residents aren't acknowledging lack of broadband service but local businesses find it too slow to competitively operate. This is a good place to begin conversations about the future of broadband in communities across the nation.
But there is more!
The site also provides maps showing various levels of broadband coverage by county for all 50 states. The map below displays the percentage of counties in New York State that have access to broadband at 25 mbps, 100 mbps and 1 Gbit. When toggling between the map that shows 25 mbps coverage and 100 mbps coverage it is clear that the North Country and Western New York are sorely lacking in high speed internet connections. The New NY Broadband Program seeks to remedy this disparity by bringing high speed internet to the entire state by 2018. Tools like Broadband Now will help monitor this progress and provide answers to residents and businesses seeking the best locations for internet coverage.