In 2008 the Commonwealth, as recommended by the Commonwealth’s Broadband Roundtable, recognized the need for statewide broadband mapping and completed its first mapping initiative. The first-generation map, created by CIT and partners, Virginia Geographic Information Network (VGIN) and Virginia Tech’s Center for Geospatial Information Technology (CGIT), and a myriad of private sector partners was the only state map in the U.S. to be based on “address-level” data, and developed at no cost to the citizens. This initiative placed Virginia amongst the national broadband mapping leaders, and provided the basis for current broadband initiatives.
As a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), in 2010 the National Telecommunications and Information Agency (NTIA) awarded Virginia’s designated broadband entity, CIT and partners, VGIN and Virginia Tech, a State Broadband Initiative (SBI) grant which provided just under $4 million for broadband mapping. The purpose of this funding was to build on the initial 2008 map, provide additional verification and validation, and align Virginia data with requirements for inclusion in the National Broadband Map.
In 2011, the Commonwealth released a second edition of its broadband availability map, which in addition to including more providers’ data, this map, unlike the previous version of the map, allowed users to search by address and view a list of providers available in that particular location. Over the following years, the Virginia broadband team, CIT, VGIN and Virginia Tech, worked tirelessly to update the map to reflect the state’s ever-changing broadband footprint, increase broadband provider participation, and constantly work to improve the map’s accuracy.
The SBI program ended in February 2015, however, the General Assembly, for the first time, allocated funding to maintain the state broadband program viewing it as critical to the resolution of the digital divide in Virginia. Through this state funding, CIT continues its broadband access data collection and mapping on a biannual basis.
To view the Virginia Broadband Availability Map: http://gismaps.vita.virginia.gov/broadband/