Data & Research

NDIA conducts, supports, and promotes data-gathering and research to inform public understanding, policy, and community strategies that advance digital equity.

Definitions of Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion 

Shortly after NDIA launched, a working group of digital inclusion practitioners discussed (at length) how to define Digital Equity and Digital Inclusion. The definitions were then reviewed, edited and approved by the NDIA community. 

NDIA Research and Tools






Asset mapping is an approach to planning and community development centered on identifying and building on a community’s existing resources. NDIA offers free, customizable tools, including a Digital Inclusion Asset Inventory Template and Digital Inclusion Asset Survey Template.

Using data from the 2019 American Community Survey (ACS) One-Year Estimates, the National Digital Inclusion Alliance releases its annual rankings for America’s Worst Connected Cities. Our analysis this year looked at cities with populations of 65,000 or more to include smaller municipalities along with large and mid-size cities.


Digital Inclusion Trailblazers is the first public inventory of local government initiatives promoting digital literacy and broadband access for underserved residents. Initially launched in 2016 as an advocacy tool for local, state and national digital inclusion leadership. NDIA has revamped the indicators. NDIA maintains an up to date list of local government Digital Inclusion Trailblazers as a handy database of examples for communities interested in taking similar steps themselves.

How does your state measure up? State digital equity scorecard

The State Digital Equity Scorecard is designed as a valuable resource for policymakers, workforce systems, advocates, and practitioners. The map and Scorecard will be regularly reevaluated and updated to provide states with resources to measure, review, and replicate successful efforts.


Broadband Research Base - National Digital Inclusion Alliance

A tagged collection of reports, studies and journal articles that address the impact of broadband and digital inclusion on community and individual well-being. Searchable by title, keyword, broad category (e.g. “Economy”) or more specific subcategory (e.g. “Migration”), geographic focus, or one of several “digital inclusion tags” (broadband availability, broadband adoption, broadband speed, broadband affordability, digital literacy). Every reference includes a link to the publication itself.

NDIA updates the list of Free & Low-Cost Internet Plans regularly, including plans with high speeds and low or no cost for those eligible for the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP).

Primary Data Sources

American Community Survey (ACS)

The American Community Survey (ACS) is the US Census’ annual large-scale survey of US households for all kinds of social, demographic, economic, and housing information. The survey includes several questions about digital devices and internet access going back to 2013. It is the most frequently used datasource for residential broadband adoption and device adoption. It also incorporates some high-level information about types of internet service and devices. The ACS data is aggregated for numerous geographic levels ranging from the entire nation and whole states down to Census tracts and block groups. 

ACS data is published each year in two primary datasets:

  • The ACS 1-Year Estimates, which include only data gathered a given year and report details only for geographic entities with 65,000 or more residents;  and
  • the ACS 5-Year Estimates, which provide statistically combined data over a five-year period for a much wider range of geographies including Census block groups, tracts, and lower-population towns and counties.

The digital inclusion data in the ACS are reported in the following tables:

ACS Tables Relevant to Digital Inclusion

B28001 Devices

Types of Computers in Household

B28002 Broadband

Presence and Types of Internet Subscriptions in Household

B28003 Devices, Broadband

Presence of a Computer and Type of Internet Subscription in Household

B28004 Broadband, Income

Household Income in the Last 12 Months by Presence and Type of Internet Subscription in Household

B28005 Devices, Broadband, Age

Age by Presence of a Computer and Types of Internet Subscription in Household

B28006 Devices, Broadband, Education

Educational Attainment by Presence of a Computer and Types of Internet Subscription in Household

B28007 Devices, Broadband, Employment

Labor Force Status by Presence of a Computer and Types of Internet Subscription in Household

B28008 Devices, Broadband

Presence of a Computer and Type of Internet Subscription in Household

B28009A-I Devices, Broadband, Race/Ethnicity

Presence of a Computer and Type of Internet Subscription in Household by Race/Ethnicity

B28010 Devices

Computers in Household

B28011 Broadband

Internet Subscriptions in Household

B28012 Devices, Broadband, Age, Education

Age and Enrollment Status by Computer Ownership and Internet Subscription Status

Current Population Survey (CPS): Computer and Internet Use Supplement

The CPS Computer and Internet Use Supplement is a partnership of NTIA, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and the US Census Bureau to measure household internet and digital device access and usage. It also includes information on where, how, and for what purposes people use the computers and the internet, along with perceptions and concerns related to internet usage. This makes it the only national-scale public dataset with information on people’s online behaviors and attitudes. In the absence of an authoritative source for digital skills data, the user behavior and perception data is used to infer digital skills needs. For example, disparities in the use of the internet for certain purposes (e.g. job searching, accessing health records, or making online purchases), concerns with internet usage (e.g. identity theft or online harassment), and reasons for not having home internet can be used as heuristics for digital skills.

CPS Computer and Internet Use Supplement data is available for every other year between 2013 and 2021. The Census Bureau’s Microdata Access Tool allows you to aggregate data at the state and county level. You can also download the entire dataset, however it requires significant formatting to be usable.

Broadband Data Collection and National Broadband Map 

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) National Broadband Map is the definitive source of data on broadband availability in the US States and Territories. The most notable difference between the National Broadband Map and the FCC’s previous method of assessing broadband availability, Form 477, is that the new map’s lowest level of geography is a “broadband serviceable location” (BSL), such as one house or office-building, rather than census blocks. For each BSL, the dataset tracks the Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) name, the type of internet technology, the speed, whether the location is a residence or business, and the number of units if it is a multiple dwelling unit. The FCC first released the National Broadband Map in November 2022 and will update it every six months to reflect feedback and updates from ISPs and community challenges to the map. It is important to note that the National Broadband Map only shows availability, i.e. a location that is able to be serviced, and whether or not it is currently serviced. It does not reflect the quality or affordability of the internet connection.  

From the site, you can download data by state or by provider. After selecting a state or provider, you can download data summarizing all types of fixed broadband technologies or mobile broadband technologies, or you can choose one specific type of technology (for instance, “Fiber to the Premises”). The data comes in a CSV format and downloads in a ZIP file. Note that the data download provides a location code and the census block it is in, rather than individual addresses.

Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), Lifeline, and Other Subsidy Data 

Data about participation in broadband subsidy programs are valuable for understanding the extent to which existing broadband affordability resources are being leveraged, and where greater outreach and engagement may be needed. The Universal Service Administrative Company (USAC) administers ACP, Universal Service Fund programs (E-Rate, High-Cost, Lifeline, and Rural Health Care), and Emergency Connectivity Fund (ECF). As part of its administrative role, USAC collects and publishes data about these programs through its Open Data Portal. USAC publishes ACP program data separately on the ACP Enrollment & Claims Tracker.

Data on USAC programs vary in detail, granularity, and update schedule by program. For the two household-level broadband subsidy programs, the following is available: 

  • Lifeline – County-level subscriber counts by service type and state-level total subscribers vs. eligible households
  • ACP – Zip code, county, and state-level enrollment and claims data, with details such as breakdown by verification method, subscription and device claims, and funding awarded.

    Dashboards, Tools, and Visualizations

    • Pew Internet Research: The longest-running consistent source of rich national survey information on Americans’ attitudes and practices on digital topics, including adoption and use of computing devices and the internet.
    • Institute for Local Self Reliance ACP Dashboard: Allows users to see ACP enrollment by state and Congressional district, highest and lowest enrolled cities, and the amount of federal ACP funding left. 
    • Benton Institute Affordable Connectivity Program Enrollment Performance Tool: This tool classifies zip code areas into five categories based on the difference between actual ACP enrollment and predicted enrollment. High performing zip code areas are those where actual enrollment exceeds predicted levels, while low performing areas have fewer ACP households enrolled than what the tool’s statistical model predicts.
    • Digital Progress ACP Map: This map shows ACP enrollment out of the total number of households in each State and Congressional District.
    • EducationSuperHighway ACP Enrollment Dashboard: This dashboard shows a map of the United States, comparing eligibility and actual enrollment per state. It also highlights states with a governor who has made ACP a priority