North Carolina residents across the state can find out what type of broadband access – if any – is available for their home on a new interactive map launched Tuesday by the e-NC Authority.

“This will take you to right above the address,” said e-NC Executive Director Jane Patterson in announcing the map.

“You have not been able as a citizen to put in your address and go.”

Based on census block level and street level information “in some areas,” the interactive map tracks whether cable, mobile, wireless, fiber and digital subscriber line (DSL) speed Internet access is available.

Titled the North Carolina Broadband Map, it relies on geographic information system information. The data was collected in spring of this year, and the data is up to date through June 30, 2010.

Established and empowered by the state General Assembly to drive high-speed Internet access across the state, the e-NC authority has long sought to document where broadband access was available and what type.

View the map here.

“We still have got lot more work to do, but we are excited get the map out,” Patterson told Local Tech Wire and in a phone interview while en route to make a presentation to the General Assembly.

“The map will be created twice a year now because data collected twice a year according to federal requirements so states can track where they are,” she added.

e-NC is investing approximately $2 million in the mapping project over four years, Patterson added.

A previous N.C. map tracked broadband availability down to service areas as determined by telephone central offices.

“This data is much more granular,” Patterson explained.

Users are asked to enter street address or select a specific type of broadband access they seek in order to determine availability.

“In this day and age, especially for those in rural areas, having access to broadband is critical to stimulating individual and community-based economic growth,” Patterson explained in a statement.

“In order to stay ahead, households and small businesses need to be connected in today’s rapidly changing, technology-driven world,” she added. “Tracking this data will not only allow citizens to find out whether they have the option of service or what broadband opportunities are available to them, but also provide e-NC with information that will help us uncover what areas still lack Internet access so we can continue our push for solutions to ensure all citizens are afforded with equal broadband prospects.”

e-NC also plans to use the map to help identify what parts of the state lack service.

MCNC, which operates the statewide North Carolina Research and Education Network, is in the process of expanding the network across many areas of the state not previously serviced by a fiber-optic network. MCNC is receiving federal funding as well as support from Golden LEAF and private sector partners in addition to its own funds.

The map was designed and produced by Michael Baker Jr., Inc., an international firm with an office in Charlotte.

e-NC is receiving federal funding through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration as well as matching funds from the General Assembly, Golden LEAF, several universities and the N.C. Center for Geographic Information & Analysis.

The N.C. map will be part of a national map from the Federal Communications Commission early next year. The Baker firm is also working with the FCC map.

A map covering N.C. map was first done in 2001, but it was not nearly as in depth as this one, Patterson said.

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