Rural Tennessee tangled in turn-of-the-century internet speeds

A screen shot showing Tennessee from the Indicators of Broadband Need map was created by the United States Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA). The map brings together several different datasets to show information on broadband availability within the United States.

Lack of high-speed internet in much of rural Tennessee is well known, but today the White House is emphasizing the disparities in broadband access with a new map that visually and vividly highlights the problem.

“What it tells you is there’s a lot of places in the United States that aren’t using the internet at broadband speeds,” a White House official told Axios.

The red-shaded areas above do not have adequate high-speed broadband access, or at least are not using it much even if available.

The map shows large swaths of rural Tennessee, Kentucky and Southwestern Virginia — along with much of backroad America — are inadequately served, according to the data underlying the map.

Axios reports that the Federal Communications Commission had been exclusively using maps based on data from internet providers, which administration officials content overstate broadband penetration.

The new “Indicators of Broadband Need” map, showing a deeper digital divide in American, was developed by the White House and the U.S. Department of Commerce using data from from Ookla, M-Lab, Microsoft, the FCC and the Census Bureau.