The National Broadband Map

Use the Federal Commission Commission’s tool to discover broadband Internet delivery speeds in your community.

Activities at three levels:

Flashlight: Enter your address. Find out how connected your community is. Ask students to answer: How many broadband providers are in your area? How do other communities compare? Are others more or less connected than yours?

Spotlight: Why does this matter? After reviewing the broadband map, ask students to do some additional research. Compare cities that were not part of the railroad and highway systems to those that are not part of the broadband Internet system. What do you gain by being part of the network? What do you lose by being off the grid?

Searchlight: Study how libraries are using the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program. New York and Chicago used the federal funds to put new public computing centers in libraries across the state. Librarians teach digital media literacy in ways people enjoy. Planning a trip is a popular activity. For more, see the full report, "Digital Literacy, Libraries, and Public Policy: Report of the Office for Information Technology Policy's Digital Literacy Task Force." Can you find evidence the libraries in your community are using BTOP funds?

Extra credit: Watch John Oliver’s segment on net neutrality for HBO’s Last Week Tonight. Notice how he encourages “trolls” to comment on the proposal? After his rant, the FCC said its website “experienced technical difficulties” though others used the word “crashed.” More than 45,000 comments were posted after the program. By the end of the comment period, a million comments were posted, most in opposition to the plan to allow companies to charge more for content to be delivered in a “fast lane.”  What implications does net neutrality have for journalists? What stances have news outlets made on net neutrality?