Retirement of the the I3 Connectivity Explorer

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

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

    1. 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.
    2. 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.


November 29, 2020: Versions 0.29 and 0.30

Version 0.30

    • The FCC 477 wireline data set was updated to the release dated December, 2019.
    • The FCC 477 wireless data set was updated to the release dated December, 2019. The dataset changed substantially in this release. Read more about the changes on the I3 Telegraph.
    • The Wireless views were updated to account for the change in content of the wireless data.
    • The FCC 477 block population estimates were updated to the 2019 release.

Version 0.29

Version 0.29 was released one week ago. That version included the following changes:

    • The IMLS Public Library outlets data set was updated to the release for 2018.
    • The CRA-Eligible tract list was updated to the list dated June, 2020.
    • The M-Lab data view added separate tabs for “Download” and ‘Upload” charts.
    • Internal fixes and improvements.

New Census data is scheduled to be released in early December.

Would exporting maps as images (e.g. PNG or PDF) be useful to you? Please share your thoughts on this potential new feature by visiting the feature description on the I3 Telegraph and voting or commenting on various choices. Thanks!

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 chart shows the fraction of tests that meet or exceed the target speeds set in your Notebooks. In that view, you can also compare against the FCC targets if those differ from the notebook goal and also compare your local data  with the state’s.
  • The NCES Public School and Post-secondary Institution data has been updated.
  • The Demographics summary now includes the average household size for a locality.
  • The school closure data from Education Week was removed from the School District DDI views. Instead, the views link to Education Week’s up-to-date page on school re-openings.
  • Internally, there was a lot work on the implementation of user interface. You should experience only minor changes and some improvements.

Don’t forget to join the conversation at the I3 Telegraph — the user forum for the I3 Connectivity Explorer!

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 the notebook goal, or compare your local goal against the state.
  • The School District Digital Distress Indicator table now includes NCES school district locale information along with the state agency identifier.
  • The login page was redesigned to be more informative.
  • The top-level data items on the Overview page now provides Digital Distress Indicator information for Counties and School Districts.
  • The layer selector on the map now has a choice for Historically Black Colleges and Universities an a choice for Tribal Colleges and Universities.
  • The Measurement Lab SpeedTest data queries were changed to limit the contribution of any single client to the median of that client’s test in the time period. This change eliminates the over-weighting of single-client tests.

In addition the I3 Telegraph , a user forum, is now online and available. Please visit the Telegraph for more information about the I3 Connectivity Explorer

Version 0.25: Every School District has a Voice

The  I3 Connectivity Explorer  (Version 0.25) offers new ways to review all school districts in any state using a variety of key indicators. The most pertinent is  the Digital Distress Indicator (DDI) which ranks the districts in a state, relative to each other, by their digital connectivity. The views are useful when thinking about how to respond short-term to the COVID-19 crisis (“Where are those WiFi hot spots best deployed?”) and longer term when deciding where to invest. Since every school district in the state appears on the list,  every school district, large or small, is represented.

Other indicators in the summary include:

    • District size and type information (unified, secondary, or elementary),
    • Data from the National Center on Educational Statistics about enrollments and the percent of students eligible for Free or Reduced-Price school lunches,
    • Demographic information, such as median household income and families in poverty,
    • Selected Census data on Internet usage and subscriptions including whether persons under 18  do not have a computer in the home,  or whether they have a computer but not an Internet subscription,
    • The wireline providers at 25Mbs↓/3Mbs↑, and
    • The wireless providers at 4G LTE.

The data appears in a summary  table. A companion map shows the DDI across the state. You can also download  state data as a CSV file that can be imported into a spreadsheet.

Access the new views from the from the “state-wide” menu that is present in every notebook. Visually, this menu appears between the active notebook selector, and the “Demographics” menu. In the example shown, the state menu is titled “New Mexico”.

View of Dropdown
The “Statewide” Menu contains links to the table and the map.

As you visit the new views,  you can switch back and forth between the map and the table, or you can view the data from other states. Scroll the table to the right to see additional columns.

illustrates the summary table
Screenshot of the summary table.

Thanks to Education Week,  the table header also contains  school district closure data.


    • Clicking on the school district’s name will automatically create a new I3 notebook for just that  district where you can find many more details.
    • You can  sort on any single column in the table.
    • You can download the CSV version of the data.
    • The complete data set is also available.

Create an account or login in now:   I3 Connectivity Explorer.

Version 0.25 was posted on April 2, 2020.

Version 0.22: Updated Census Data and New Features

Happy New Year!

The Census released its 2014-2018 Community Survey Data on December 19, 2019.  This data is now included in Version 0.22 of the I3 Connectivity Explorer.

Changes in Version 0.22 include:

  • The Census data feed is updated to American Community Survey, 2014-2018,
  • Underlying map data was updated to TigerLine 2018 shapefiles to match the new Census data,
  • Support for Elementary and Secondary school districts, and State legislative districts (upper and lower),
  • Population demographics for Native Americans alongside the other demographic categories,
  • A revised interface for choosing among multiple localities when adding a Locality to a Notebook. and
  • A preference setting to control whether satellite providers are included in statistics on the Overview and 10,000 foot pages.

Application Usage Tracking

With your permission, the I3 Connectivity Explorer can collect information regarding your usage of the tool, such as which browsers are being used, how long pages are taking to load, which pages have the most (or least) activity, and how long visitors stay on pages. By choosing to participate, you will help us to better address issues with the application and to improve its usability.  The data collected is retained by the Center for Internet as Infrastructure, LLC, without sharing to third parties. Please see the Privacy Policy if you have any concerns.  TLDR; Our policy remains one of user-consent and keeping your data private.


The next time you log in to the I3 Connectivity Explorer, you’ll be prompted to opt-in to any usage tracking by the tool.

Version 0.20: A Shorter URL, a Privacy Policy Update, Fresh FCC Data, and New Features

A new, shorter, url:

You can now access the I3 Connectivity Explorer at Your current bookmarks will continue to work.

Privacy Policy Update (Version 1.2)

TLDR; Our policy remains one of user-consent and keeping your data private.

The changes introduced in Version 1.2 are incremental. The updated policy clarifies the wording concerning web analytics (which remain opt-in), adds Stripe as a potential payment vendor, and adds the domain as one of our member sites. Version 1.2 of the Privacy Policy provides the details.

The next time you log in to the I3 Connectivity Explorer, you’ll be asked to confirm your acceptance of the new policy. 

Version 0.20 Improvements

The new release incorporates the following changes:

  • The FCC 477 Wireline and Mobile data is updated to the distributions dated June 2018.
  • The FCC 477 Wireline Adoption data is updated to December 2017, (data posted 09/2019).
  • There are new map layers for HUD Opportunity Zones and for Distressed or Underserved Nonmetropolitan Middle-Income Geographies.
  • New state and local Rural-Urban blocks views allow you to use rural/urban characterizations to check the number of blocks served by 0, 1, 2,  or 3+ providers.
  • New state and local Well-Served blocks views have been introduced. A block is  “well served” when it has a minimum number of providers (default 3) at a specified speed. (e.g 25↓/3↑). Blocks are then  characterized as “well-served”, “under-served”, or “un-served”. The number of providers, and the target speed, are set in your Notebook preferences.
  • The ACS Internet Subscription Summary and Map views include additional detail.
  • Most maps now remember zoom, scroll, and layer settings from previous visits, so there’s less redrawing.

As always, let me know what you think. Your feedback helps to shape the application.


Version 0.19  includes Schools and Libraries

Version 0.19 includes schools and libraries using data from the Department of Education (NCES/CCD, NCES/PSS, NCES/IPEDS) and the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Public Library Survey. This feature set will be extended with additional data in an upcoming release. For now, schools and libraries can be displayed on map layers. You can click on a pin to see additional information. If you like this feature, let me know what additional information you would like at your fingertips.

Other new features include summary tables for ACS Internet Subscription Characteristics, for ACS Computing Devices in the Home, and for key demographic measures that appear on the Home page. Finally,  M-Lab Speed Test State vs. Local comparisons are available.