Grassroots effort to improve broadband maps – give it a try

The National Association of Counties (NACo), Rural LISC and Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) have created a tool that might create better maps…

National Association of Counties (NACo), Rural LISC and Rural Community Assistance Partnership (RCAP) have partnered to address the critical need for high-speed internet for rural communities across the country. Currently, data indicating broadband availability and speed is reported twice a year by Internet Service Providers. However, there is no mechanism to verify the accuracy of the data, and anecdotal evidence suggests an entire ZIP code is oftentimes marked as “served” with broadband if just one home in the census block has coverage. Outdated broadband mapping techniques limit Congress’ ability to accurately identify and allocate broadband resources across much of America.

In response, NACo, Rural LISC and RCAP developed a mobile app that harnesses grassroots advocacy by empowering individual users to accurately identify areas with low or no internet connectivity. The data will be aggregated to identify gaps in broadband coverage. This information will help guide advocacy for adequate funding and inform decision-making at federal, state and local levels.

Join us in advocating for a stronger and more connected future for small towns everywhere. Follow these four short steps to join the movement!

Step 1:  Locate the iOS/Android App Store on your phone.

iOS App Store

Android App Store

Step 2:  Search for “TestIT” in your mobile app store (see icon below).

Step 3:  Download TestIT mobile app.

Step 4:  Open TestIT mobile app and click “Test Speed Here!”

(Repeat Step 4 as frequently as possible)

That’s it!  For further info, see the press release here, and NACo’s flyer: “Bridging the Economic Divide.”

P.S.  Help spread the word by encouraging friends, family and constituents to join in the effort!

This entry was posted in Building Broadband Tools by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

I have a Master’s Degree in Library and Information Science. I have been interested or involved in providing access to information through the Internet since 1994, when I worked for Minnesota’s first Internet service provider. I am pleased to be a part of the Blandin on Broadband Team. I also work with MN Coalition on Government Information, Minnesota Rural Partners, and the American Society for Information Science and Technology.

2 thoughts on “Grassroots effort to improve broadband maps – give it a try

  1. I am not a big fan of speed tests – there are so many variables. I ran this test on my phone and iPad where I got 55 Mb/15 Mb and 34 Mb/12 Mb, respectively over my home wi-fi. I also connect via wi-fi on my laptop and the Ookla speed test returned 178 Mb/20 Mb for the laptop. I then ran Ookla on my iPhone and got 178 Mb/23 Mb. For excitement, I checked several other speed tests and they were consistent in the 170 Mb range. Hmmm?

    • Agreed. End-user device limitations, Wi-Fi variables (router hardware limitations, distance from router, signal strength), testing endpoints, and many other factors can cause wide swings. The consumer end-user devices, especially mobile devices, are the bottleneck on most speed tests. Tests using wired connections are somewhat more accurate but still don’t typically reflect the maximum capacity of the provider’s connection. There needs to be some solution for independent verification of provider speed claims, but this may not be the best solution. We also find that consumers are only doing speed tests when they have a problem, which is inherently going to skew the recorded results.

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