North Carolina is crowdsourcing a statewide broadband speed test. A new tool launched today by the North Carolina Department of Information Technology’s (DIT) Broadband Infrastructure Office gives users the ability to map internet access and internet speeds at home and the office.
The data provided by North Carolinians will be used to populate a map that will show the speed of internet services that households and businesses receive at locations across the state. This information is then used to report coverage data to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).
It will also allow DIT to identify parts of the state that need better internet access and help prioritize future projects to expand broadband to communities that need it most.
The effort to get a handle on broadband access comes as the FCC has pivoted sharply from supporting a free and open internet as well as from supporting municipal broadband networks. Several members of Congress have advocated for broadband expansion in any future infrastructure package, but it remains unclear if a package will materialize as congressional priorities seem to be centered on tax cuts.
“The data reported to the FCC by internet service providers gives us only general information about what is available across the state. We repeatedly hear from citizens that their homes or businesses do not have internet access even though the map shows they do,” said Jeff Sural, Director of the Broadband Infrastructure Office. “This new platform will help to provide information that can be extremely important for project planning and funding purposes.”
The mapping tool is available here.