Another 115,000 North Carolina homes and businesses that lack high-speed internet access have been identified as part of a process to update national maps that could help the state secure more funding to get people connected.
The N.C. Department of Information Technology’s (NCDIT) Division of Broadband and Digital Equity today announced that its nearly 43,000 challenges to the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Map aided in surfacing 115,000 additional North Carolina homes and businesses that do not have access to high-speed internet, more than any other state in the country. The map corrections will affect the eligibility of locations for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program for future broadband deployments, impact the state’s BEAD funding allocation, and guide Governor Roy Cooper’s plan to connect every North Carolinian to high-speed internet.
“It’s important to know exactly where people still need help in getting good high speed internet service,” said Governor Roy Cooper. “This more accurate picture will help us more effectively and efficiently close the digital divide to help North Carolinians get online for telemedicine, education, services and business."
The Division of Broadband and Digital Equity collaborates with the N.C. Center for Geographic Information and Analysis and the N.C. Geographic Information Coordinating Council to utilize their mapping tools: NC OneMap and AddressNC. NC OneMap catalogs and makes the state’s geospatial data available to the public, and AddressNC serves as the most reliable and trusted statewide comprehensive source for precise physical sites of nearly six million locations. The division also partnered with the NC State University Friday Institute for Educational Innovation that provided the data comparisons utilized to support the National Broadband Map challenges. NCDIT’s multi-pronged challenge approach also included supplying a promotional toolkit to other government agencies and broadband and digital equity partners, as well as urging the state’s internet service providers to make any necessary updates to their service location data.
“This granular location data for unserved and underserved households and businesses will help the state strategically invest federal resources to expand broadband infrastructure to all North Carolinians,” said NCDIT Secretary and State Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver. “We appreciate the partner organizations who drove awareness of the challenge process and the internet service providers who submitted data to clarify their unserved and underserved areas.”
The following figures demonstrate the marked difference between the FCC National Broadband Map’s unserved and underserved North Carolina locations from the June 2022 data (released Nov. 18, 2022) and December 2022 data (released May 30, 2023).
Figure 1: FCC Broadband Data Collection – June 2022 Data
Figure 2: FCC Broadband Data Collection – December 2022 Data with Successful Challenges
NCDIT encourages all residents and businesses in the state to continue contributing to the state’s mapping efforts by sharing data about their high-speed internet availability and speeds via the N.C. Broadband Survey at www.ncbroadband.gov/survey. To report locations without internet service, participants can text “internet” to 919-750-0553. Standard text messaging rates will apply. Residents with landlines or cellphones that do not have texting capability may place a voice call to 919-750-0553.
For more information about the NCDIT Division of Broadband and Digital Equity or Governor Cooper’s plan to close the digital divide in North Carolina, please visit www.ncbroadband.gov.