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New Broadband Map

Federal Maps on Broadband are still wrong & threaten Buncombe County funding

Buncombe County, NC – No broadband need???

Our broadband leadership team continues to advocate for quality broadband in Western North Carolina and we get excited when new ‘Indicators of Broadband Speed’ data becomes available to further assist in making objective decisions for our communities. However, we question the integrity of the data, including for Buncombe County, NC.

Indicators of Broadband Speed

The Indicators of Broadband Need map was created by the United States Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). 

The map uses several different data sources to show information on broadband availability within the United States. 

Layers in this map were created using data sourced from the American Community Survey collected by the U.S. Census, Measurement Lab (M-Lab), Ookla, Microsoft and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). 

A description of each data set is given in the map linked at the bottom of this blog as well as information on how to download the county, census tract and census block level data used in the map.

Comments from our WNC Broadband

  • New federal maps are an important small step in the right direction that point out the real extent of the problem.
  • New federal maps are still woefully inaccurate and show many areas as covered that are not because of the Swiss Cheese network with many small holes (see map below).
Buncombe Swiss Cheese Broadband
Buncombe Swiss Cheese Broadband Network
  • It will take years for the federal government to develop accurate maps given the mandate processes and the IT work involved
  • Therefore, the federal maps should not drive funding in the near term.
  • Near term funding must be driven at the local (county) and state level where local knowledge and feet on the street can determine where funding and build-out is critically needed.

Please contact a member of the WNC Broadband Leadership Team with any additional thoughts or comments.


New federal broadband maps show stark differences in access, affordability. Nbcnews.com. Published June 18, 2021. Accessed June 20, 2021. https://www.nbcnews.com/news/amp/rcna1220

NTIA Creates First Interactive Map to Help Public See the Digital Divide Across the Country | National Telecommunications and Information Administration. Ntia.gov. Published 2021. Accessed June 20, 2021. https://www.ntia.gov/press-release/2021/ntia-creates-first-interactive-map-help-public-see-digital-divide-across-country