Submitting results helps determine which areas require improved service
By Diego Flammini
Farmers and rural residents in Indiana are being encouraged to test their wireless connections and submit the results.
In 2021, the Indiana Farm Bureau launched the Indiana Broadband Strategic Partnership (IBSP) with other partners to bring reliable broadband to underserved communities.
The IBSP includes the Indiana Speed Test, where users can receive real-time internet speed data.
If a user agrees to share his or her results, the data is used to create a map of wireless connectivity in the state.
More than 30,000 results have been shared in the last 18 months, but more data means a higher chance of achieving better service in areas that need it.
"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, president of the Indiana Farm Bureau. "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."
Indiana ranks in the top half of the U.S. for average internet speeds.
The average internet speed in the state is 134.1 Mbps, which ranks the state 21st in the country.
For context, Maryland ranks first in the U.S. with an average speed of 196.2 Mbps.
In terms of broadband coverage, Indiana ranks closer to the bottom.
About 79.80 percent of the state has broadband coverage.
Connecticut ranks first in that category, with 98.30 percent of the state having broadband coverage.
Indiana’s government has invested in rural broadband connectivity over recent years.
The Next Level Broadband Grant Program, which started in 2018, has contributed $268 million in grants for broadband infrastructure helping more than 74,800 homes and businesses.
And in 2022 the State granted another $189 million to further extend connectivity. This funding will help more than 52,900 homes in 80 counties.