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Broadband Interagency Working Group Archive

NTIA serves as co-chair of the Broadband Interagency Working Group (BIWG) alongside the Department of Agriculture’s Rural Utilities Service (RUS). Through the BIWG, NTIA works with other federal agencies to improve coordination across programs, reduce regulatory barriers to broadband deployment, promote awareness of the importance of federal support for broadband investment and digital inclusion programs, and collect and share information with communities about available federal resources for broadband deployment and digital inclusion efforts.

More than 25 federal agencies participate in the BIWG, which continues the work of the Broadband Opportunity Council. In January 2017, NTIA and RUS announced the formation of the BIWG in a Broadband Opportunity Council Agencies’ Progress Report.

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NTIA Requests Feedback on Improving Broadband Availability Data

May 30, 2018

Across the country, Americans use broadband to learn, shop, grow their businesses, and connect with friends and family around the world. Communities that gain access to affordable, high-speed Internet see improvements to economic growth, educational opportunities, and public safety and health care services.

Much of America has been reaping the rewards of broadband for years, but there are still areas of the country that don’t have the connectivity needed to keep up with the modern economy. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), more than 30 percent of rural Americans live in areas that lack broadband availability.

We know these gaps exist, but what we don’t know is precisely which areas of the country have insufficient broadband capacity. That makes it difficult to ensure that public investments in infrastructure are efficient and effective. Right now, the FCC’s Form 477 data, which is collected from broadband service providers, is our only source for nationwide broadband availability information. The Form 477 data program is valuable, but the data is not independently validated or verified. It is also reported at the Census block level, so that can lead to inaccuracies that overstate availability – especially in rural areas where Census blocks are large.

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