As part of the state’s push to expand broadband access, the Indiana Farm Bureau (INFB) is encouraging residents to take the Indiana Speed Test before the end of the year to ensure accurate broadband mapping data.
In a press release, the INFB explained that the Indiana Speed Test is a crowd-sourced internet speed test that focuses on enabling cost-effective planning and deployment of broadband. By taking the speed test, both rural and urban residents “get their dot on the map that informs future broadband funding across the state.” The state notes that the speed test has been taken nearly 38,000 times over the past 18 months in 30,000 unique locations in the state. However, the map of to-date test results still shows areas lacking data.
“While broadband needs are most obvious in the rural communities of our state, there are still many locations near our largest cities that lack sufficient broadband,” said Randy Kron, INFB president. “Data is a critical piece to help local broadband groups and the state of Indiana invest where service is needed the most and to avoid overbuilding infrastructure.”
After data collection is concluded, the INFB will make the software platform and data available to local governments and organized broadband groups. Local governments and broadband groups will be able to use the software and resulting data to analyze potential solutions and aid their applications for Indiana’s Next Level Connections Grants and a variety of Federal grants like the American Rescue Plan Act.
“The data from the speed test can be used by grant applicants and also by the state to verify where broadband is and where it’s not affordable or available,” said Katrina Hall, INFB senior director of policy strategy and advocacy. “New broadband maps are currently in development, so now is the time to make sure your dot is on the map. Regardless of whether you live in a rural or urban area, your broadband access matters.”
INFB notes that the speed test can be performed multiple times on any device that has an internet or cellular connection. The test, which takes less than one minute to complete, doesn’t collect any personal information.