A state organization advocating for expanded broadband access is encouraging all Nebraskans to share their internet speeds.
Individuals can go to nebraskaspeedtest.org from any internet-enabled device, including cellphones. No personal information will be collected, but the data gathered will provide the most comprehensive view of actual upload and download speeds available to residents across the state.
Officials said the test takes about a minute. The website includes a map with results from test participants across the state.
“Results from this study will give local and state officials a better understanding of where underserved and unserved Nebraska residents are located,” said CJ Poltack, president of the Nebraska Regional Officials Council, an organization of economic development leaders from across the state.
The group aims to bridge the so-called digital divide between urban and rural areas by providing decision-makers a better understanding of where internet accessibility is limited or not available, and where speeds are not meeting the needs of today’s users.
A 2019 report commissioned for Nebraska lawmakers found that many rural residents have at least one provider, but average speeds are slower than in the cities and there are fewer companies to compete and drive down prices, The Associated Press reported.
Improving broadband services in Nebraska is a priority of Gov. Pete Ricketts.
Officials said the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the need for broadband accessibility with students learning remotely and employees working from home.
The project is funded through a federal coronavirus response stimulus grant.