Nathan Zacharias with the Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition encouraged the Rice County Board of Commissioners to take the broadband speed test for their homes.  Zacharias explained this effort is the first of it's kind in the nation.

The test launched August 3, 2020, as of yesterday approximately 30,000 households across the state took the free test which he says takes about 30 seconds to complete.

The Minnesota Rural Broadband Coalition wants to have a more accurate mapping of broadband infrastructure across the state so they can go the state legislature and get more funding to improve broadband access.

Zacharias explained most broadband maps aren't more detailed than census block, township or even county levels.  If one home in a census block is served, often the entire census block is considered served.  He said we all know this is not true.

Mn. DEED Broadband Map. Provided by Mn. Rural Broadband Coalition
Mn. DEED Broadband Map. Provided by Mn. Rural Broadband Coalition

They want to put together a house-by-house map concerning broadband speeds becuase he says, "It gives a better picture of what service looks like."

In Rice County about 150 tests had been taken as of Tuesday.  Zacharias asked County Commissioners to give him some assistance to get the word out.

"The goal is to create the most accurate mapping in the nation and give community leaders the tools they need to expand broadband networks."

Zacharias says the test is very simple.  The start up will remind you not to be streaming anything when taking the test.  Make sure your kids aren't watching Netflix, you don't have your Virtual Private Network (vpn) on from work.

There are a number of options for this all voluntary test.  You can enter your exact address but it's not necessary if you are concerned about privacy.  You can enter just a partial address.  You can also enter a address that has no available service.

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