NC maps out high-speed internet access across state


RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — As the advance of technology marches on, high speed internet has become a way of life, powering computers, phones, TVs and everything in between. The state of North Carolina says it wants to know if you have it, and are getting what you paid for.

If you ask the North Carolina Department of Information Technology, when it comes to broadband access, better information leads to better service. The Department has released a map of the state showing the availability and speed of high speed internet in individual areas.

CLICK TO ACCESS THE MAP

This map is meant to show the quality of internet access in every corner of the state, comparing the speeds reported by internet service providers to real-world results — but it’s not there yet. To fill in the blanks, the Department is relying on submissions from North Carolinians about their internet access, including how quick it is and if they have it at all.

“We want to get better data so we can go back to the FCC and tell them your data says your census block is served, but less than 25 per cent of the people are actually getting service,” says Jeff Sural, director of the North Carolina broadband infrastructure office.

While much of our everyday interaction with high speed internet comes in the form of streaming movies and playing video games, the technology is also crucial to the state’s economy.

“As we lay that infrastructure businesses will come and we can lay that out for our economic growth,” says Eric Boyette, the secretary and chief state information officer of the Department of Information Technology.

High speed internet has also become integral to the curriculums in North Carolina’s schools, as educational efforts in the state need to keep pace with the information age.

“If we had the technology to do research quicker than having to find a library spot or things outside that community to pull that info down—they’ll be able to do that at their fingertips,” Boyette says.

The map is accessible on laptops and mobile phones, and allows NC residents to take a speed test to check their access, and contribute data to the state’s mapping project.

With the map, the Department of Information Technology intends to identify large portions of the state that lack high speed internet access. “What we’re trying to do is figure out where are the locations that don’t have service or who’s not getting the speeds the providers are telling them they should be getting,” Sural says.

The state says its goal is to provide broadband internet access to every person in North Carolina in 4 years. In order to get there, the state needs more people to report exactly what kind of internet access they are getting so they can improve service for everyone.

The Department of Information Technology’s interactive broadband map is available here.

For more information on how to check your speeds or the availability of high speed internet in your area, contact steve@WNCN.com.

Email CBS North Carolina’s Steve Sbraccia if you have a consumer issue.

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