The National Telecommunications and Information Administration made the first round of grants to four states for mapping their broadband access. A total of $6.8 million will go to California, Indiana, North Carolina and Vermont for this first round to show the speed and location of broadband availability in their states. There is a total of $350 Million allocated toward broadband mapping as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Each state is required to contribute at least 20 percent of non-federal matching funds toward the project cost.
In a press release, NTIA indicated that the four states won the awards because they exceeded the grant requirements for data collection, verification, and collaboration. Each of these states plans to augment the information they receive from broadband providers with data collected and verified independently. Each recipient is also working with other state partners and each indicated how their project would leverage existing Geographic Information Systems (GIS) capacity. These four states are well know for the quality of their geospatial data and coordination.
The NTIA has until February 17, 2011 to compile and make public a national broadband map. The map will display geographic areas and the broadband service that is available along with speed of service and public availability at schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges, universities and public buildings.