Indiana is participating in the National Broadband Program as a multi-year, multi-agency effort to map areas in the state that are currently served by the state’s 170+ broadband providers. The results from this will be integrated into a national broadband availability map, and will provide a solid foundation for future broadband deployment efforts at the state and national level.
“Broadband access supports our economy, attracts businesses, and enables Indiana to be globally competitive. It improves the quality of life for Hoosiers through better communication and learning,” says Jim Sparks Indiana Geographic Information Officer regarding Indiana’s participation.
The mapping portion of the program intends to identify areas that are underserved and ideally expand access to those areas. Indiana is an active participant in the program, and rightly so – several areas of the state and key demographics are currently underserved. From an user interface perspective, personally I find the national broadband availability maps (different from the IndianaMap) leave something to be desired. I find them generally too technical to communicate much to the average consumer, though they surely are packed with information that will assist at the national program level. Be sure to look at the “Show Gallery” link at the bottom of the page for some nice perspectives (it is easily missed). As a work in progress, it is also worth keeping in mind that the maps may over-represent some areas and under-represent other areas based on individual states’ current participation in the mapping program.
Lest we underestimate the potential impact of the broadband program in Indiana, let us look at the current “state of the state” according to another source, PatchworkNation.org: