If Julius Genachowski’s Federal Communications Commission is going to go all data-driven, service providers are going to need data to justify their requests for federal broadband dollars. Enter Connected Nation, a non-profit that promotes broadband usage.

The organization has teamed with ESRI to develop an interactive online mapping tool, based on the latter’s ArcGIS technology, that states and service providers can use to tap Census Block-level broadband data.

That information is required to complete the Rural Utilities Service and National Telecommunications and Information Administration broadband infrastructure grant applications.

The tool will be accessible through the Connected Tennessee and Connect Ohio online broadband map sites and will allow the general public to click on any Census Block within those states to obtain the number of households served and unserved by a broadband provider within that Census Block.

In addition, Connected Nation has posted online the downloadable datasets of broadband availability information by Census Block.

Currently, approximately $7 billion in stimulus funds through the Department of Commerce’s NTIA and the Department of Agriculture’s RUS have been designated to help expand broadband access to unserved and underserved communities across the United States.

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•  Broadband Briefs for 07/17/09