ABOVE: A map from the FCC shows areas in yellow where there are major gaps in broadband availability. Darker blue means faster speeds.
U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) announced Tuesday that Tennessee will be one of eight states included in a new National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) project to expand and update the National Broadband Map.
“In order to ensure that all Americans have access to broadband, we need a more precise picture of the current services and infrastructure that are available,” said David Redl, Assistant Secretary for Communications and Information and NTIA Administrator, in a press release announcing the collaboration with the first eight states. “NTIA’s work on an updated map, in partnership with these initial states, will help policymakers around the country make better decisions as they devise broadband expansion plans.”
According to the FCC’s 2018 broadband deployment report, 23% of rural Tennesseans lack access to high-speed internet, which is not only a tool for education and entertainment, but also is considered a key to participation in the growing digital economy.
As the Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Communications & Technology, Blackburn led the effort to fund this project at NTIA as part of her ongoing efforts to improve broadband availability for rural communities across the country.
“Closing Tennessee’s digital divide is absolutely imperative,” said Senator Blackburn, “In order to do this, we must have the most accurate information possible. Tennessee’s inclusion in this exciting new pilot project will give us a clear and complete picture of broadband availability in our state. With this new data, we can continue to work to ensure that underserved rural communities in Tennessee can access the broadband service they need.”
Blackburn serves on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.