Efforts Underway to Expand Broadband Service

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An internet provider may claim it offers high-speed service.  But if your devices are constantly buffering, you may not be getting the kind of broadband you’re paying for.  And many households in this part of central Mississippi don’t have ANY broadband access.   But that could be changing.  The Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi, known as BEAM, is lining up local governments and nonprofit organizations to collect information from the public that could be used to challenge a map showing which areas of the state have access to broadband and which areas don’t.

Ashley Johnson with BEAM says the public input is important…

“We think we have some reasonably good data but we know that at the more local level, that the more granular the information we can get from the communities, the more accurate our map will be.”

And the map showing areas that are served, unserved and underserved will determine which communities can qualify for federal grants to expand high speed internet service.

“So if we have you incorrectly marked on our map and we list you as served but you’re really unserved, we need to know that to make sure that your location will be eligible for grants in the future.”

You can participate by logging onto broadbandms.com to take a survey or to do a speed test on your internet service….

“If an individual needs to submit a challenge, they need to work with their local government, a non-profit or a broadband service provider.  Those are the eligible entities that can process the information and push it through on the individual’s behalf.”

The challenge period opens March 1st and runs for only 30 days.

BEAM says, in Mississippi, Leake County ranks third from the bottom in terms of broadband service with almost 74 per cent of serviceable locations either unserved or underserved.  Neshoba County ranks fourth in terms of worst broadband availability with 62 per cent unserved or underserved.   In Attala County, it’s 50 per cent.