The Divide: New map shows 60M Americans lack Internet

This week: Eric Frank, CEO of LightBox, discusses the company's new nationwide Internet connectivity map which reveals that nearly one in six Americans is not connected.

Nicole Ferraro, Editor, host of 'The Divide' podcast

September 9, 2021

The Divide: New map shows 60M Americans lack Internet

On this episode, we hear from Eric Frank, CEO of LightBox, a real estate information and technology platform, on the company's new nationwide Internet connectivity map. While the FCC's most recent estimate shows 14.5 million Americans lacking Internet access, LightBox today puts that number at a much larger 60 million, or one in six Americans.

LightBox was able to produce its map by placing approximately 2 billion Wi-Fi access points on top of the company's national Broadband Serviceable Location Fabric: a dataset of geospatial info, addresses, occupancy classifications, and number of units within structures across the US.

Figure 1: 9025.pngAccording to LightBox, red indicates "very poor connectivity," orange means "poor connectivity," yellow is "ok connectivity" and green is "good connectivity." White areas indicate locations with "no connectivity detected." Click here to explore the map.
(Source: LightBox)

Frank first spoke to Broadband World News in June about LightBox's work with the state of Georgia to produce a map showing 400,000 more locations lacking access than the FCC estimated. Now the company hopes its national map will allow it to work directly with the federal agency and other states on solving the digital divide.

We discuss the various data sources that went into producing the nationwide connectivity map, why it focuses on Internet connectivity instead of serviceability, and what more it reveals about the larger digital divide in the country.

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— Nicole Ferraro, contributing editor and host of "The Divide" and "What's the Story?" Light Reading

A version of this story first appeared on Broadband World News.

About the Author(s)

Nicole Ferraro

Editor, host of 'The Divide' podcast, Light Reading

Nicole covers broadband, policy and the digital divide. She hosts The Divide on the Light Reading Podcast and tracks broadband builds in The Buildout column. Some* call her the Broadband Broad (*nobody).

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