Press Release Details

Esri Pilots Broadband Solutions with National League of Cities to Reduce Digital Divide


Partnership with NLC Will Deliver Complementary GIS Tools to City Members

Broadband is essential for effective economic growth, education, workforce development, telehealth, and more. While access to broadband is a necessity for communities to compete in the global economy and provide equal opportunity for residents, COVID-19 has increased awareness of gaps in service, particularly for rural areas and underserved populations. Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, is joining the National League of Cities (NLC) Capstone Challenge Series to pilot geographic information system (GIS) solutions to address broadband availability.

"The Capstone Challenge was developed by NLC to showcase the power of public-private partnerships in addressing timely and critical issues facing America's cities, towns, and villages," said NLC CEO and executive director Clarence E. Anthony. "Through this challenge, NLC brought together mayors, city administrators, and departmental staff with industry leaders to create innovative solutions that work for all residents."

The pilot program will be implemented in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Purcellville, Virginia; and Butte-Silver Bow, Montana, and members will work with Esri to provide insight and feedback on their broadband challenges and create lasting solutions. In turn, Esri has agreed to work with the three NLC members to deliver relevant and repeatable GIS solutions to address broadband availability.

The Capstone Challenge Series is a pilot program that pairs NLC partners with motivated local leaders to create repeatable solutions for government needs. NLC is the voice of America's cities, towns, and villages, representing more than 2,600 municipalities across the country. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy, and drive innovative solutions.

"The recent pandemic has brought attention to a challenge that has persisted as long as many areas have gone without the necessary connections to the world enabling them to live and do business," said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. "We are happy to be able to work so closely with local jurisdictions to define approaches to closing the digital divide and deliver solutions that truly meet the needs of cities."

Cedar Rapids, Purcellville, and Butte-Silver Bow will work to launch and test GIS solutions developed by Esri, including the following:

  • Equity Index Tool—To identify priority populations and gaps in broadband coverage (using key indicators like demographic data and reported broadband)
  • Speed Test App—To crowdsource internet speed tests from residents (validating reported internet coverage and speeds from external data sources) to establish an authoritative dataset
  • Planning Tools—To report broadband coverage statistics, understand gaps in service, and strategize service expansion
  • Communication Tools—To share broadband information with internal and external stakeholders

This series of complementary solutions will help local governments, large and small, use GIS to effect better decision-making and will be available to all ArcGIS users.

To learn more about how state and local governments can use GIS to address broadband access, join the session Peer Learning: Resources for Cities from the Capstone Challenge Series at the upcoming NLC City Summit:

About the National League of Cities

The National League of Cities (NLC) is the voice of America’s cities, towns, and villages, representing more than 200 million people. NLC works to strengthen local leadership, influence federal policy, and drive innovative solutions. Stay connected with NLC on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.

About Esri

Esri, the global market leader in geographic information system (GIS) software, location intelligence, and mapping, helps customers unlock the full potential of data to improve operational and business results. Founded in 1969 in Redlands, California, USA, Esri software is deployed in more than 350,000 organizations globally and in over 200,000 institutions in the Americas, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Africa, and the Middle East, including Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, nonprofits, and universities. Esri has regional offices, international distributors, and partners providing local support in over 100 countries on six continents. With its pioneering commitment to geospatial information technology, Esri engineers the most innovative solutions for digital transformation, the Internet of Things (IoT), and advanced analytics. Visit us at

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Jo Ann Pruchniewski
Public Relations, Esri
Mobile: 301-693-2643

Source: Esri