LINCOLN, NEB. – The Nebraska Farm Bureau (NEFB) is taking steps to deliver better mobile broadband service in rural Nebraska, and the organization will need help from Nebraskans to do it, said Nebraska Farm Bureau President Steve Nelson, June 28.
“Nebraskans should have access to high-speed internet service no matter where they live in our state. We know that is not the case. From emergency service to educational opportunities, from personal use to needs of rural businesses, including our farms and ranches, hi-speed internet is essential,” said Nelson. “With the FCC set to invest billions to improve mobile wireless service in rural areas it’s important rural Nebraska not be left behind.”
In March, the Federal Communication’s Commission (FCC) released a map identifying areas of the country without sufficient 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service. The map is important as it will help the FCC identify where to allocate $4.53 billion in federal dollars over the next 10 years to expand 4G LTE service.
“The current map indicates much of the state of Nebraska would not qualify for FCC assistance as service is available from one carrier or another. Yet we know there are issues across the state with dropped calls, as well as slow downloading and uploading of data,” said Nelson. “That’s why we’ve moved forward to challenge the coverage map for Nebraska.”
Nebraska Farm Bureau recently received a waiver from the FCC allowing them to challenge the legitimacy of the coverage map. The FCC map is based on coverage data provided to the FCC by mobile service providers. The FCC challenge process allows for the collection of wireless speed data from actual cell service users.
“We need Nebraskans from across the state to help by using their mobile devices to run speed tests,” said Nelson. “We will need to prove there are coverage issues. These speed tests are an integral part of improving the accuracy of the map and enhancing our chances of Nebraska qualifying for FCC grant dollars so all Nebraskans can have access to quality coverage.
Speed tests can be run by downloading the FCC Speed Test App in the Google Play store or the Apple App store. Results can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Nebraskans interested in running speed tests and helping improve broadband coverage are encouraged to visit www.nefb.org/nebroadband for more information.