NTIA Broadband Data Transparency Workshop

Department of Commerce
1401 Constitution Avenue, NW
Herbert C. Hoover Building, Room 4830
Washington, D.C.
October 30, 2009,
1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time

James McConnaughey
(202) 482-1880
[email protected]

The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) will host a public meeting regarding data related to broadband Internet access that the agency collects, data needs of researchers, and future broadband research.

In order to achieve the technology and broadband goals of the Administration, NTIA is working with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the Department of Agriculture's Rural Utilities Service (RUS), and other stakeholders to develop and implement economic and regulatory policies that foster broadband Internet access deployment and adoption. Current and detailed data on broadband Internet use and access by U.S. households is critical to allow policymakers not only to gauge progress made to date, but to identify problem areas.

The purpose of the public meeting is to provide information to the research community regarding the type and availability of broadband data that may be made publicly available for use by the research community, and to hear from this research community with respect to their data needs. NTIA is authorized to conduct studies and evaluations concerning communications research and development and for 15 years, has developed and analyzed Internet data (including more recently the high-speed variety). These activities have provided essential data for prudent policymaking in this area, including fueling the needs of the research community whose work could be invaluable inputs for sound policies.

NTIA currently collects broadband related data from several sources. Pursuant to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) and the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA), two broadband initiatives within NTIA, the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program (State Broadband Data Program), are accumulating a variety of data.2 Under the State Broadband Data Program in particular, this includes data that will populate a comprehensive, interactive, and searchable nationwide inventory map of existing broadband service capability and availability in the United States that depicts the geographic extent to which broadband service capability is deployed, available, and adopted from a commercial or public provider throughout each State.

In October 2009, the Census Bureau collected through the Current Population Survey (CPS) data based on questions that NTIA sponsored and developed to provide up-to-date information on the extent of U.S. broadband adoption and the major reasons why current non-users choose not to adopt. Data have been generated by several demographic and geographic categories and must be weighted and appropriately aggregated before release. Census periodically releases public use files containing the raw data collected. These various data may be made publicly available for use by the research community to conduct economic, financial, demographic, and other studies. Such release, however, may be limited by such Federal disclosure laws as the Freedom of Information Act and the Trade Secrets Act.

Specific information regarding the status of and data from specific applications for the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program (BTOP) and the State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program (State Broadband Data Program) will not be discussed at the meeting.

Matters to Be Considered:

1. The types and frequency of broadband Internet access data that NTIA can compile through its ongoing programs and research that will be useful to the research community. For example, NTIA has categories of data from the BTOP and State Broadband Data Program and is gathering information through the next CPS that may be useful to the research community;

2. The current sources of data available to the research community for research related to broadband Internet access;

3. The economic, social, policy, or other areas that research related to broadband Internet access can inform;

4. The emergent themes, trends, and new directions within the research community regarding broadband Internet access data;

5. The data format preferred by researchers including those for distributing broadband-related data on the Web to promote maximum transparency for researchers and the interested public; and

6. The legal requirements regarding the agency's collection of and dissemination of data from third parties.