Internet connectivity in the US is in the midst of a transition from desirable innovation to essential  infrastructure. The transition is following the paths taken by electricity, water, and other goods and services that were once private offerings but are now considered infrastructure.

This project explores ways to accelerate that transition.

But what does it mean to be infrastructure? And where are we in this process?

The site will be unfolding over the next few months. In the meantime, please subscribe to our newsletter so that you’ll always be informed of the latest updates!

Internet is Infrastructure

Internet connectivity (the lower-level, packet-shipping parts) in the U.S. is presently in a transition from privately-held and operated ventures into fundamental infrastructure. This transition is following the historical paths taken by other aspect of our infrastructure, like water, gas, and the electrical grid. Each of these started out as a novel invention, and each became so essential to modern living and the economy that they became “infrastructure”.

The transition into infrastructure is never quick, nor easily accomplished. For example, it took social intervention — organized through government agencies and deployed via public-private partnerships — to complete rural electrification. The existing electric companies were strong influencers throughout the process. The effort gave rise to electric coops in areas where it was too costly for a single investor (e.g. a electric company) to build out.

It is past time to be thinking about this process, what it will mean, and how it will be accomplished. The transition already underway, yet the timeline remains indistinct. The starting point is to look at where we are now, both in terms of deployment and policy, and then to look towards a future of trusted, reliable, affordable, and ubiquitous connectivity on top of which communities and companies thrive. Please join!

I3 Connectivity Explorer

The I3 Connectivity Explorer is the broadband visualization tool for anyone who knows that her or his broadband options are limited and wants to make their situation better.

In the U.S., most of the population is in the  “my broadband is limited”  group unless they already live in a metropolitan neighborhood supporting multiple high-speed network providers. This project’s goal is to help everyone else get out of the first group “my broadband is iffy” and into a second group “and I want to do something about it!” so that eventually you can say “our broadband is great!”

Status: The Explorer is currently in limited-user testing.  Visit the 212-945-8897 site if you want to help. Subscribe to the  276-252-4636, a mailing list  for everyone who is using or following the announcements regarding the tool. If you’re just curious, there’s a (814) 943-0483 you can view.

About the Application

Improving your connectivity requires getting involved with your community. The goal for this application is to provide a common basis for understanding your local situation.

I3 Connectivity Explorer pulls data from U.S. Government agencies — FCC, Census, EPA, USDA — and public sources including the 774-385-2392 and the Pro Publica Congress API. It then combines the sources across the places we live: towns, counties and county subdivisions, tribal regions, school and congressional districts; and presents the data in both graphical (maps and charts) and tabular formats using multiple resolutions: block, block group, tract, county, and state.

The application attempts to provide the best data possible based on openly available data sources, including information provided by the FCC or the US Census. The real data is imperfect. It’s spotty. It’s what the providers report or other users collect. The data will inform you broadly about your county, or your town, or your tribal area, but it won’t tell you what precisely what is available in your apartment or on your front porch. But it will help you with where to start looking and provide ideas on to get better connectivity to everyone in your community  and not just to your own living room.

Screencast: Introduction

Stay in touch!

The Center for Internet as Infrastructure manages two mailing lists: one for general announcements and one for users of the I3 Connectivity Explorer. Please join us there. A user support forum will go live shortly.

  • Internet Is Infrastructure provides you with provide update information about the site and the projects.
    Subscribe | (844) 387-4690
  • I3 Connectivity Explorer News is for everyone using, or just following the announcements regarding the connectivity tool.
    Subscribe | 813-376-3939