In 2017, when the I3 Connectivity Explorer project started, there were few effective broadband maps and it was difficult for individual users to gather relevant data on communities in need.
Since its deployment in August 2018, over 1,360 users have signed in to explore data about more than 4,450 different localities across the US. The usefulness of the platform has been evident from reports of how the data from the platform has provided voice and volume to local stories. The integration of FCC provider data with information about demographics and actual speeds has proven to be a strong and important combination. More about the goals of the project can be found at About the I3 Connectivity Explorer.
The COVID-19 pandemic provided a major new impetus for broadband and digital equity efforts nationwide. State and national mapping efforts are re-invigorated.
Many states are producing state-specific crowd-sourced data sets, bringing better state- and local-level data to the communities that the I3 Connectivity Explorer has been serving. Next Century Cities’ Broadband Mapping Across the U.S.: Local, State, and Federal Methods & Contradictions cites many of these efforts.
National resources such as
- BroadbandUSA’s Indicators of Broadband Need and the National Broadband Availability Map, and
- ESRI’s Tackling the Digital Divide with Ready-to-Use Content + Policy
are filling gaps that the I3 Connectivity Explorer was designed to address.
I’m pleased with what our small-but-mighty project has achieved. But with the new resources now coming on-line, and significant changes to the underlying data sets necessary in the near future, an orderly shutdown this summer is the proper course.
Timeline for Shutdown
- July 17, 2021 – August 6, 2021: Active users will have access to the I3 Connectivity Explorer, but updates to the data sets and creation of new accounts will be suspended. This “quiet” period provides everyone time to wrap up their work.
- August 7, 2021: the application, the mailing list, and the forum will go offline.
With Many Thanks
The I3 Connectivity Explorer would not have been possible without the amazing and generous technical and moral support from individuals and organizations across the US. Thank you all very, very much.
Special thanks 🙏 to Southwest Cyberport for powering this effort from start to finish. Theirs has been a magnanimous gift to all of us.