NPR logo Tracking High-Speed Internet In Your Neighborhood

Tracking High-Speed Internet In Your Neighborhood
Broadband Internet access at home.

How wired are the homes in your neighborhood compared with the ones across town? A national interactive map released today from American University's Investigative Reporting Workshop helps answer that question.

The map shows geographic differences in broadband Internet adoption across the country — down to the level of individual census tracts, small areas with a population of 1,200 to 8,000 people.

The map, which contains data from the Federal Communications Commission, lets you explore by place and ZIP code, and includes demographic and income measures.

In a larger report, the workshop analyzed the FCC data to draw conclusions about state-to-state differences and the so-called digital divide, persistent disparities across segments of American society when it comes to access to information technology.

In addition to the group's effort, check out the U.S. Department of Commerce's November 2011 report on the same topic.

That report found that "lower-income families, people with less education, those with disabilities, Blacks, Hispanics and rural residents" lagged behind national averages for adopting broadband and using computers. But the Commerce Department said socioeconomic differences were not the only factors that explain why some households don't get Internet service. Nearly half cited a lack of need or interest, while a quarter said it was an affordability issue.