Broadband Breakfast Interview With LightBox’s Bill Price on How States Can Get Better Maps

Bill Price discussed the work of LightBox in ensuring that states receive funding to close the digital divide.

Broadband Breakfast Interview With LightBox’s Bill Price on How States Can Get Better Maps
Updated CAF map from USAC

LightBox, a real estate mapping company, has the hope to change the messed-up world of broadband mapping.

Since the signing of the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment Jobs Act in November, $65 billion will be available for broadband in unserved and underserved communities. Understanding where broadband is and isn’t, will be a big part of that process.

What many advocates have referred to as a “once in a lifetime” opportunity for those on the wrong side of the digital divide will rely on state broadband programs to disperse both state and federal broadband funding.

Unfortunately for many states, there is a huge obstacle standing in their way: A notoriously insufficient broadband mapping program from the Federal Communications Commission.

In this special video interview between Broadband Breakfast Editor and Publisher Drew Clark and LightBox Vice President of Government Solutions Bill Price, Price notes that LightBox wasn’t always in the broadband mapping game.

The company started out just aggregating location data and accuracy for data-intensive and location-specific services like Zillow, Google, Microsoft, Waze, and other third-party applications, before it began working on broadband projects in 2018.

“The actual cost of deploying broadband to unserved areas depends on the accuracy of the location data you have got,” Price says in the interview. “Think about building highways without knowing all the property, all the zoning, all the owners – all the details you need to build a highway.”

“You can guess at it, as we have done for over a decade in government – we’ve guessed at it, we’ve thrown billions of dollars at it, and look where we are,” he added.

That is no longer the case, Price says. “We don’t have to guess anymore. We can treat broadband investment and planning just like we do any other infrastructure.”

Price, who has been with LightBox since the summer of 2021, previously served with strategy and analytics for the Georgia Technology Authority for almost nine years. Prior to that, he was director of broadband programs for the state of Florida from 2009 to 2012.

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