The Launch of BroadbandCensus.com

By Drew Clark

BroadbandCensus.com, a new Web site designed to provide everyday Internet users with the ability to learn about broadband availability, competition, speeds and prices – in their local areas — launched January 31.

The information launched yesterday evening on BroadbandCensus.com is really only the beginning. We understand that the information we have about local broadband availability and competition is limited.

Bell and cable companies have, thus far, generally been unwilling to provide the public with information about which local areas they serve.

BroadbandCensus.com hopes that the creation of this new site, and with its easy ability for Internet users to “Take the Broadband Census,” will change this dynamic.

When you come to BroadbandCensus.com, you are invited to type in your ZIP code and see how many broadband providers serve your area, according to the Federal Communications Commission.

You can also see the names of the broadband providers that the Broadband Census has been able to identify.

The site then encourages you, the users, to tell BroadbandCensus.com which broadband provider or providers serve your ZIP code. As soon as a Broadband Census Taker inputs this information, the number of services found by the Web site grows accordingly on BroadbandCensus.com.

The content on BroadbandCensus.com is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial License, which means that the content is available for all to view, copy, redistribute and reuse, providing that attribution is provided to BroadbandCensus.com, and that such use is for non-commercial purposes.

I’ve been working almost full-time on this site for more than three months, and I am very grateful for the wide support that the Broadband Census has received among Internet policy experts.

Now it is time to take the next step, and open the conversation and debate about broadband availability, competition, speed and price to all Internet users.

Legislation on Capital Hill – particularly the “Broadband Census Act” by Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet – would also help provide additional information about broadband availability and competition to the general public.

We’ll be putting out a full-scale press release about BroadbandCensus.com next week, but I invite you to check out the site, kick the tires, and offer us any comments, suggestions or criticisms that you might have.