The North Carolina Department of Information Technology announced Thursday that a recent revision to a nationwide broadband map added about 115,000 homes and businesses in the state that lack access to high-speed internet.
The new locations were added to the Federal Communications Commission’s national broadband map, which was re-released May 30 after a lengthy public review process, during which states, local governments, community groups and internet carriers challenged the previous map’s accuracy.
NCDIT’s Division of Broadband and Digital Equity submitted about 43,000 challenges to the map. This contributed to a process that added more new locations that lack broadband to the FCC’s national map than any other state in the county, the state claimed in a news release.
The FCC’s May 30 update added more than 1 million locations nationwide to the national broadband map. The map is influential in how the National Telecommunications and Information Administration allocates funds from the $42.5 billion Broadband, Equity, Access and Deployment grant program it’s managing.
The NTIA started distributing BEAD planning grants last August, giving states the funding to conduct data collection, public outreach, employee training, surveys and inventories of current broadband adoption and services. The agency is expected to announce states’ full allocations from the $42.5 billion fund by June 30, with every state — plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C. — due to receive at least $100 million.
“This granular location data for unserved and underserved households and businesses will help the state strategically invest federal resources to expand broadband infrastructure to all North Carolinians,” North Carolina Chief Information Officer Jim Weaver said in the state’s news release. “We appreciate the partner organizations who drove awareness of the challenge process and the internet service providers who submitted data to clarify their unserved and underserved areas.”