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Connected Nation Unveils Broadband Readiness Index for U.S. Counties

Nearly half of nation's households are in counties falling short of national broadband goals

Washington, DC. (May 18, 2011) – Connected Nation, a leading national nonprofit technology services organization, today unveiled its Broadband Readiness Index – a powerful new tool that assesses the broadband infrastructure for all 3,219 counties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico. The Index shows that counties containing 45.6% of the nation’s households still fall significantly short in meeting National Broadband Plan goals of fixed and mobile broadband access for both current and future needs.

“Connected Nation developed this national Broadband Readiness Index to provide anyone interested in broadband expansion with a very simple way to compare how communities are faring,” said Connected Nation CEO Brian Mefford. “The tool will become even more useful over time as we can easily track where progress is occurring and where it is not - and then to shape more intelligent strategies to spur improvements.”

The Broadband Readiness Index assesses the progress of counties in reaching national broadband infrastructure benchmarks established in the National Broadband Plan and the President’s Wireless Innovation Initiative. Utilizing data from the National Broadband Map, the Index measures how close counties are to reaching each of these goals:

Universal Broadband for Today’s Needs: universal access to broadband at 3 Mbps download and 768 Kbps upload speeds, roughly commensurate with the Plan’s National Broadband Availability Target;

Mobility: 98% availability of mobile wireless service, proposed by the Wireless Innovation Initiative; and

Robust Broadband Markets: 85% availability of access to 50 Mbps fixed networks, which is comparable to the Plan’s goal that 100 million households have access to such networks by 2015.

The Index measures each county’s progress against each of these benchmarks, assigns a grade to each component, and calculates an overall grade. It will be updated every six months as the National Broadband Map,, data is updated. The tool is intended to be used in support of state, local, and regional broadband planning initiatives.

“The broadband needs of a community are diverse, and the health of a community’s broadband infrastructure cannot be measured solely by reference to basic broadband speeds,” said Tom Koutsky, chief policy counsel for Connected Nation. “The Index assesses current broadband speeds, takes into account the economic benefits of mobility and high-speed platforms, and encapsulates those objectives into an easy-to-understand and powerful format. Community leaders will be able to use this index to drive and direct public-private partnerships to close these infrastructure gaps.”

The Broadband Readiness Index is being unveiled today at Mefford’s keynote speech at the
Telecommunications Industry Association Conference in Dallas. The Index can be a catalyst for broadband expansion, and such related data collected by Connected Nation has already been used to identify local challenges and promote action to fill the gaps. (Click here and here for examples).

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