The National Telecommunications Information Administration (NTIA) has updated its BTOP map.
To illustrate the impact of the federal Recovery Act investment in the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and State Broadband Initiative (SBI), the NTIA has developed an online tool to better visualize the high-speed broadband networks, public computer centers, and Internet training programs funded across the country.
The BTOP map, as they call it, actually went live in 2012 with data submitted by NTIA’s grantees in their 2011 progress reports. The latest version of the map is much more dynamic and user-friendly; it was updated last week using data from grantees in last year’s progress reports.
As of the end of 2012, according to the NTIA, projects had built or upgraded more than 86,000 miles of high-speed network infrastructure and connected more than 12,000 schools, libraries, and other community institutions across the country. BTOP grantees also had installed more than 41,000 workstations in public computer centers, provided more than 12 million hours of computer and Internet training to more than 4 million people, and recorded more than 521,000 new residential broadband subscriptions.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 appropriated $7.2 billion to broadband investments and directed the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service as well as the NTIA to expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities across the country. As a result of this appropriation, the Rural Utilities Service further funded the existing Broadband Initiatives Program (BIP), and the NTIA created BTOP.
The NTIA is an executive branch agency operated through the U.S. Department of Commerce primarily responsible for advising the president on telecommunications and information policy issues.
The updated map announced last week lets users drill down beyond just high-level numbers.
Users can select a state or type in a zip code, and the map will show the broadband networks that the NTIA is funding in that location as well as the community institutions that are being connected by those new networks. The map also displays local computer centers that offer broadband access to the public, and local training programs that are teaching digital literacy skills to those who need help getting online.
In addition, as the NTIA noted in their blog on Thursday, the map features state dashboards, which provide snapshots of the investments on a state-by-state basis, as well as “map layering” functionality, advanced APIs for other organizations and programmers to utilize the data and a mobile version of the map for use on smartphones and mobile devices.
North Carolina has leveraged BTOP since it began more than 3 years ago, with the biggest project in the state being overseen by MCNC in Research Triangle Park. The $144 million Golden LEAF Rural Broadband Initiative (GLRBI) will be complete this summer with a celebration event planned in August for completion of the project.