Appendix 1: Federal Communications Commission’s Form 477

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) requires Internet services providers to report several kinds of data every six months using Form 477 with some data made public through regular data releases, usually about a year following the reporting deadlines.

Form 477 Fixed Broadband Deployment Data89 includes information about the “fixed broadband” technologies that each provider has deployed in each Census block it serves, along with the maximum advertised download and upload speeds provided by each technology to any address within that block. This data is available for download in the form of a very large zipped CSV file for each state and is also shared via a set of interactive maps.90

There are serious questions about the reliability of the Fixed Broadband Deployment Data and the accuracy of the statistics and maps the FCC produces with it. Even so, community digital inclusion planners and advocates find this data useful to identify local provider coverage areas, get some idea of local technologies and speeds, and identify major gaps in broadband availability. NDIA has used it to document the digital redlining of poorer neighborhoods in some cities.91

Form 477 Internet Access Services Reports92provide data on the shares of households in all U.S. Census tracts which actually had fixed broadband service (i.e. wireline or satellite, but not mobile) from the reporting ISPs. This data comes from the providers’ actual counts of customers in each tract who meet one of two download speed benchmarks (10 Mbps and 200 kbps), which the FCC staff totals up and then converts to one of six numerical codes (0 through 5) for its map93. A “0” represents zero households meeting the benchmark; a “1” represents 1 to 199 households per thousand; a “2” represents 200 to 399 per thousand; and so on up to a “5” for 800 to 1,000 households per thousand.

Community digital inclusion planners and advocates can download an Excel file with the whole national dataset of tracts and codes94 and use it to create your own local maps. Connect Your Community in Cleveland has examples of an Ohio statewide map95 and a local Cleveland city map96 using Form 477 Census tract household connection data on its website.

Appendix 2. U.S. Census’ American Community Survey (ACS)

To get an overall picture of the numbers, demographic characteristics, and geographic distribution of your community members who have little or no internet access, you can now turn to the U.S. Census’ American Community Survey (ACS), which now provides household computer and internet data for individual Census tracts. (It used to be available only for entire cities and only for those above 65,000 residents.)

The Census’ American Factfinder97 portal is a powerful tool for finding American Community Survey data for the tracts you need, or for your whole city or county if you prefer.

There are several approaches to getting to your data but they all come down to two things:98

  1. Identify the geography you want (Census tract, city, county, etc.)
  2. Find the data table you want.

ACS computer and internet data can be found in Tables B28002 through B28011 of the 2017 ACS 5-Year Estimates. (There are are also summary tables, S2801 and S2802, which have much of the same information.)

Topics covered in these tables include:

  • The share of households with various types of home internet access (dial-up, wireline, cellphone, satellite, etc.) or no access at all (Table B28002);
  • Overall computer ownership and internet subscriptions by
    • Households at various income levels (Table B28004),
    • “Persons in households” of various ages (B28005),
    • Race and ethnic groups (B28009),
    • Educational attainment (B28006) and
    • Labor force status (B28007).

    ACS Table B28002 provides estimates for the tract or community you select on

    1. households with cable, DSL, or fiber broadband accounts—i.e., conventional “wireline” connections;
    2. households for whom mobile devices are the sole home internet service;
    3. households with other broadband types (e.g., satellite) as well as dial-up;
    4. households with no internet access at all.

    Mobile subscriptions are far more likely to have strict data usage limits and the devices they connect, especially smartphones, also have serious limitations in important use categories like education. So NDIA generally considers “wireline” connections (or lack of them) and “no internet access at all” as the two main indicators of “connectedness” in this ACS table.

    NDIA’s national maps of 2017 ACS data on households with wireline broadband access and households with no internet access of any kind are at

    Appendix 3: Tips and tricks for running a program with digital literacy volunteers.

    From Kami Griffiths, Community Tech Network

    One thing’s for certain with volunteers—retention can be a challenge. So if you’ll be relying on them as instructors for your digital literacy programming, here are some tips and tricks for running a program with digital literacy volunteers.


    The benefit of recruiting a digital literacy volunteer is that you can use the internet to recruit. Some national sites where you can promote your volunteer positions include:

    1. VolunteerMatch (most used and beneficial)
    2. Idealist
    3. Craigslist
    4. United Way
    5. Hands on Network (Points of Light)

    You can supplement your online recruiting efforts with other options, such as:

    1. Hanging flyers in and around your location/community
    2. Submitting an article or OpEd to your community newspaper
    3. Social media posts
    4. Making an appearance on local television or radio
    5. PSA on a local radio station
    6. Working through an association for retired people (AARP, etc)

    Longer-term strategies:

    • Contact your local high school or college to see if they have a service-learning program or internship program. This a great way to ensure the volunteer will follow through since their grade depends on it. Internship coordinators are responsible for finding good placements for their undergraduate students. So develop relationships with them! Universities have their own websites for creating nonprofit profiles and posting opportunities for volunteers or use sites like Handshake.
    • Contact the corporate social responsibility (CSR) person at local companies to see what type of employee engagement programs they have. These programs encourage volunteerism and may even allow employees a set amount of time off to volunteer during the work week when it could be more challenging to fill a volunteer shift.

    The Right Fit

    One way to improve retention is to ensure a good fit from the start. Here are some questions to consider when evaluating prospective volunteers:

    1. Are they a good communicator of complex terms?
    2. Do they have a passion for teaching digital literacy?
    3. Are they comfortable working with people of different ages and backgrounds? Do they speak the languages needed or have the cultural competency to work with the population you serve?
    4. Do they ask questions? If they don’t know an answer, are they comfortable admitting it and using it as an opportunity to look up the answer together?
    5. Do they have enough patience to explain the same thing three times in three different ways?
    6. Are they interested in technology and know how to use the technology that learners are using?
    7. Are they going to be available for the minimum required time or are they likely to leave if they find a job? It’s always a good idea to have your own idea of the volunteer time commitment posted when seeking volunteers.

    Feeling Fulfilled

    People give their time for a few reasons: to meet people when they move to a new place, to learn new skills, to help people and make an impact, or to change careers and gain experience. Be sure to find out each volunteer’s goal and match them to the right volunteer opportunity to achieve that goal. Then use the volunteer’s time wisely by ensuring they have a good-sized class of students who show up ready to learn.

    Training and Orientation

    Some of your volunteers will have previous teaching experience, but for most people this will be their first time helping someone improve their digital skills. To ensure that the volunteer is prepared to work with the learner, have them understand these 10 principles:100

    1. The learner is in control.
    2. Be patient with the learner.
    3. Get to know the learner.
    4. Do not assume knowledge.
    5. Admit your own limits.
    6. Be respectful of differences.
    7. Be selective and focused.
    8. Be flexible and creative.
    9. Understand internet safety.
    10. Be open to new experiences.

    Be sure to give the volunteer a tour of your facilities, an opportunity to shadow an existing staff member or volunteer, and introduce them to key staff members they will see regularly. This will help them feel welcome and prepared for their first day.

    Learner Feedback

    You may not see the volunteer in action, so it will be critical to build in other ways of capturing feedback. Check in with the learners to solicit feedback on the volunteer. If they identify areas for improvement, provide the volunteer with additional training or pair them with another volunteer who has more experience. If the volunteer still isn’t performing after a few interventions, it may be time to assign them a different role or let them go.


    Most volunteers have good intentions, but something may happen that requires legal intervention, which is a sure way to derail a program and potentially put the entire organization at risk. A few steps to take to protect your organization include:

    1. Have the volunteer sign a release of liability
    2. Make sure you have general liability insurance for the locations where volunteers are placed
    3. Consider getting Directors & Officers (D&O) insurance to protect the staff and board
    4. Conduct background checks

    Organizing Substitutes

    Life happens, and volunteers may not be able to keep their volunteer commitment. In order to have uninterrupted service for your learners, develop a pool of volunteers with flexible schedules who can serve as substitutes.

    Ongoing Support

    Volunteers may be scheduled at times and locations where you won’t see them very often, if at all. You may consider asking volunteers to submit their time weekly (using an online survey tool) and share any issues they’re facing. This way you know they attended their shift and can address any problems immediately. If a new program need pops up, you can provide the additional training at a monthly meeting, which also serves as a way for volunteers to meet each other and share ideas. To keep volunteers informed you could create online training video, schedule a webinar for volunteers to attend, set up an online forum for volunteers to share ideas and meet each other and/or publish a monthly newsletter with links to resources.

    Volunteer Recognition

    With all the time spent on recruiting and training volunteers, it’s in your best interest and that of your learner to keep the volunteers around as long as possible. Here are some ways to recognize your volunteers in order to increase your retention:

    1. Consider sending regular communication with success stories and updates on meeting larger goals to let them know their time is making a difference in the community and contributing to the organization’s larger mission.
    2. Show your appreciation by having an annual awards event or highlighting volunteers in a monthly newsletter or on social media.
    3. If possible, give your regular volunteers small tokens of appreciation such as gift cards or handwritten thank you notes.

    4. References

      “Fixed Broadband Deployment Data from FCC Form 477,” Federal Communications Commission, accessed February 20, 2019,
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      “Fixed Broadband Deployment,” Federal Communications Commission, accessed February 20, 2019,
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      Bill Callahan, AT&T’s Digital Redlining Of Cleveland, (Columbus, OH: NDIA, 2017),
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      “Internet Access Services Reports,” Federal Communications Commission, accessed February 20, 2019,
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      “Residential Fixed Internet Access Service Connections per 1000 Households by Census Tract,” Federal Communications Commission, updated June 2017,
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      “Latest FCC data shows rural and inner-city Ohioans share a broadband problem,” Connect Your Community (blog), April 11, 2018,
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      “Home broadband map of Cleveland, June 2017,” Connect Your Community, accessed March 5, 2019,
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      American Factfinder, accessed March 5, 2019,
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      f you haven’t used American Factfinder before, we strongly recommend that you take a look at the “how to” presentation and transcript, or listen to the audio recording, that are linked under “Event Resources” here: In the transcript, look at Ryan Dolan’s presentation beginning on page 18.
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      “Home Internet Maps,” NDIA, accessed March 5, 2019,
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