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Purdue Center for
Regional Development

2018: Updated Indiana Broadband Footprint

Posted by Roberto Gallardo on February 05, 2020, in PCRD.

The new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) broadband data was released a couple of weeks ago (December 2018 v1). In this post, updated figures and maps are presented to help Indiana communities as they plan and implement broadband-related projects.

As you may recall, the FCC dataset is not perfect. Data has not been validated by consumers and is based on maximum advertised speeds. For these reasons, broadband coverage may be overestimated and, in some areas, inaccurate. However, it is the only dataset available and should be used to jumpstart local conversations and efforts around broadband access.

According to estimates by the FCC, there were 2.9 million housing units in the state in 2018. Of these, about 22,000 had access to no providers whatsoever, and about 124,000 had access to only one provider. In contrast, 542,000 had access to two providers. The remaining three-quarters of housing units, or about 2.2 million, had access to three or more providers.

The map below shows the 25 megabits per second download and three megabits per second upload (25/3) footprint in the state by broadband technology (DSL, Fixed Wireless, Cable, and Fiber). Access to fiber technology was placed on top hiding access to other technologies. In other words, an area showing access to fiber may also have access to other technologies. On the other hand, regions showing DSL (light purple) only had access to that technology (bottom layer).

Approximately 94% of housing units in the state had access to advertised 25/3 as of December of 2018. Access to fixed wireless (green), cable (yellow), and fiber (red) at a minimum of 25/3 is scattered throughout the state. Some areas, or about 11,000 housing units, show access to only DSL (light purple) at 25/3. Also (not shown), there were about 35,000 housing units with access to only DSL at speeds lower than 25/3.

Chart 1

On the other hand, there were still about 168,000 housing units or 5.8 percent without access to advertised 25/3 (including those with access to no providers). The map below shows the areas in the state with housing units outside (orange) the 25/3 footprint (gray area). Dark orange areas show Census blocks with at least 50 housing units without access to 25/3. These areas are in dire need of broadband investments.

Chart 1

The next two maps break down the orange areas with no access to 25/3. One map shows the “unserved” areas of the state. These areas do not have access to 10/1. The second map shows the “underserved” areas of the state which do have access to 10/1 but have no access to 25/3.

Chart 1
Chart 1

The interactive table below, which you can search by county name, sort columns in ascending/descending order, and download the data, shows multiple broadband indicator for each county in Indiana. The total number of housing units are included. The percent of housing units unserved (with no access to 10/1, including those with no providers) and underserved (access to 10/1 but not to 25/3) are also listed. In addition, percent of housing units with no access to 25/3 and no access to 100/20 are included as well. The 100/20 speed was included because other states are building networks capable of offering this speed placing Indiana counties at a disadvantage if their networks do not offer 100/20 as well.