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Nebraska program targets rural broadband

Jeff Caldwell 05/30/2012 @ 11:20am Multimedia Editor for Agriculture.com and Successful Farming magazine.

The list of high-tech tools for the farm that depend on high-speed web connectivity today to function properly continues to grow. Recognizing that the development of consistent broadband infrastructure is a 2-way street between consumers and providers, the state of Nebraska is offering a web-based system to check your broadband connectivity and report it to officials who, in turn, use that data to make future infrastructure enhancements.

"Exploring efforts to increase broadband adoption and utilization in Nebraska will increase community vitality and

economic growth," according to a report from the Nebraska Institute of Agriculture & Natural Resources at the University of Nebraska. "The Nebraska Broadband Initiative, which is in its third year, is designed to increase adoption and utilization of broadband in communities/regions with an emphasis on unserved and underserved regions."

By logging on to the site, you can test your connection speed and log it on the state's broadband map. The benefits are 3-fold, officials say.

"Businesses considering a move to an area are using the maps to identify whether or not the infrastructure is available. New and current residents can identify providers that serve the area," officials say. "Residents and businesses can provide feedback on the broadband service available."

The program provides the opportunity for rural residents in a specific area to identify common connectivity needs and provides a medium through which they can communicate those needs to service providers to ultimately improve rural broadband access, Nebraska officials say.

"This project, funded through the Nebraska Public Service commission, is part of a larger Department of Commerce’s

National Telecommunication and Information Administration (NTIA) grant to increase broadband access and adoption through better data collection and broadband planning," according to a report from the University of Nebraska.

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