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Friday, September 10, 2010

ESRGC Launches Interactive Broadband Map

SALISBURY, MD---Curious about internet options for area homes or businesses?  The Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative at Salisbury University has launched a new interactive map of broadband in Maryland, the latest milestone in the state’s initiative to expand broadband services. To view the map, visit www.mdbroadbandmap.org/map.

The user-friendly online map enables Maryland residents to enter addresses or zoom in on locations to explore types of broadband available in that area, and view a list of companies that provide the service. The map benefits broadband service providers by including links to their Web sites. Site visitors may also test their current upload and download speeds, and report unserved areas.

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“High-quality, reliable broadband service empowers consumers with access to a wide range of resources, services and products,” said Dr. Michael Scott, director of the ESRGC and technical lead of the Broadband Mapping project.  “It also serves as an engine for economic growth, enables effective competition in markets, and ultimately provides a data driven view of where further investment in broadband is needed.”

Since November 2009, the Maryland Broadband Cooperative (MDBC) has been working to develop a statewide database of broadband service areas and to create the interactive map for the public.  Besides helping residents, the data is valuable for planning infrastructure expansion into currently unserved areas and for marketing broadband services.

“The broadband mapping team has made every effort to create a broadband service discovery tool that is accurate and current for all addresses in Maryland,” said Patrick Mitchell, president and CEO of MDBC. “We believe that the Maryland Broadband Map can serve consumers as the primary source they reach out to for reliable information about the state’s broadband market.”

Within weeks, the Maryland Broadband Map will allow users to compare their internet service speeds against average speeds from their ZIP code and county.  Along with responses to a 20-question survey, the data collected from the speed tests will help develop a picture of broadband availability and usage throughout Maryland.  This data will ultimately be used to determine where the state should build and improve upon broadband coverage.

The Maryland Broadband Map initiative is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the National Telecommunications Information Administration’s (NTIA) State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program. Maryland data is contributed twice annually to NTIA and will ultimately become part of a national broadband map. SU is a partner in the project along with Towson University, the Department of Business and Economic Development, and the Department of Information Technology.

For more information call 410-543-6030 or visit the SU Web site at www.salisbury.edu.   



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