Overview: The I3 Connectivity Explorer

The I3 Connectivity Explorer is a broadband visualization tool for anyone who knows that her or his broadband options are limited and wants to improve their situation.

In the U.S., most of us would agree that “my broadband options are limited,” unless we already live in a metropolitan neighborhood supporting multiple high-speed network providers. This project’s goal is to help everyone else get out of the first group “my broadband is iffy” and into a second group “and I want to do something about it!” so that eventually we can all say “our broadband is great!


The I3 Connectivity Explorer views broadband connectivity data broadly through the lens of the places we live: towns, counties and county subdivisions, tribal regions, school and congressional districts. The areas supported lie in the middle of the range between national and address-level. It presents the data in easy to interpret maps, charts, and tables at a variety of resolutions.


The application combines data from U.S. Government agencies — FCC, Census, EPA, USDA, The National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) — and other public sources such as the Measurement Lab (M-Lab) and the ProPublica Congress API. It then localizes the national data to locations of interest. The tool provides information about the Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) already active and shows where they operate.


As a stand-alone application, the I3 Connectivity Explorer provides background data about Internet connectivity together with solid information about how to interpret that data. Used in support of a broadband planning team, the I3 Connectivity Explorer helps your team and your community to ask better questions sooner. At a time when the Federal and State standards are evolving and future demands are growing, the I3 Connectivity Explorer will help you to understand your current situation.

You can use the jumpstart guide to get started. A good example of how school administrators can use the tool is found in the Digital Equity Data Profile. Subscribe to the mailing list to stay up to date with recent changes.

Blog

Version 0.28

Version 0.28  of the I3 Connectivity Explorer  includes the following improvements and changes: The Measurement Lab Platform 2.0 data including up-to-date speed test data is now included. The Measurement Lab “Speed test” charts which displayed a median download or upload speed over time was removed. Starting with Version 0.27, the “Goal vs. Actual” speed test …

Version 0.27

Version 0.27 of the I3 Connectivity Explorer introduces the following improvements and changes: A County-level Digital Distress Indicator table and map were added to the State menu. A new SpeedTest display illustrates the percentage of tests that exceed the notebook’s target speed goal. You can also compare against the FCC targets if those differ from …

Version 0.26

Version 0.26 was posted on April 18, 2020. It contains the latest FCC 477 data sets, dated June 2019.

Internet is Infrastructure

Internet connectivity (the lower-level, packet-shipping parts) in the U.S. is presently in a transition from privately-held and operated ventures into fundamental infrastructure. This transition is following the historical paths taken by other aspect of our infrastructure, like water, gas, and the electrical grid. Each of these started out as a novel invention, and each became so essential to modern living and the economy that they became “infrastructure”.

The transition into infrastructure is never quick, nor easily accomplished. For example, it took social intervention — organized through government agencies and deployed via public-private partnerships — to complete rural electrification. The existing electric companies were strong influencers throughout the process. The effort gave rise to electric coops in areas where it was too costly for a single investor (e.g. a electric company) to build out.

It is past time to be thinking about this process, what it will mean, and how it will be accomplished. The transition already underway, yet the timeline remains indistinct. The starting point is to look at where we are now, both in terms of deployment and policy, and then to look towards a future of trusted, reliable, affordable, and ubiquitous connectivity on top of which communities and companies thrive. Please join!

Stay in touch!

The Center for Internet as Infrastructure manages two mailing lists: one for general announcements and one for users of the I3 Connectivity Explorer. Please join us there. A user support forum will go live shortly.

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