South Dakota agency asks citizens to participate in speed test

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South Dakota is wanting to know how fast residents’ internet connection is and the Bureau of Information and Telecommunications is conducting a survey at SpeedTest.sd.gov to collect internet speed information.

Communication with the world is vital for South Dakota, according to state Bureau of Information & Telecommunications Commissioner Dom Bianco.

“Technology and high-speed telecommunications are essential for South Dakota’s economic success,” Bianco said. “This project helps us determine whether South Dakotans are poised to take advantage of the expanding global economy, and where further development needs to take place.”

The Bureau of Information and Telecommunications (BIT) will use the results of speed tests from all over the state to update its broadband maps and to assist national broadband-policy decision makers. South Dakota’s State Broadband Initiative is part of a national effort to determine where Broadband access is available and what capacity it has. Broadband commonly refers to high-speed Internet access that is always available.

“Once we know what’s out there, we can address how to make it better,” said Bianco. “That’s why we need the public’s help. So far, more than 13,000 speed tests have been completed, but we need a much-wider data collection.”

If you have a broadband connection for your computer, go to SpeedTest.sd.gov, fill out the form indicating where your computer is located, and take the free speed test to learn your broadband upload and download speed. You are encouraged to take the speed test more than once, since broadband responsiveness may change at various times of the day. Test your computer wherever you use it – at home, work, a Wi-Fi hotspot, in school, and so forth. No personal information is collected, and the location data is used only to collectively evaluate the broadband performance in an area.

If broadband is not available in your area, BIT wants to know about that, too. Go to broadband.sd.gov and click on “Report Unserved Area,” or contact the project at broadband@state.sd.us or (605) 773-4165 to report your situation.

The mapping project will help Internet service providers and government agencies determine where services and improvements are needed. The more business people and residents who take the speed test, the more accurate the broadband maps will be.

Broadband communications for South Dakota provide many benefits, including:

* Improving the quality of life for South Dakotans

* Improving economic development

* Increasing access to educational materials and health care

* Enhancing public safety

* Making government and citizen interactions more efficient

* Encouraging tourism

* Offering citizens job opportunities via telework

“At the end of the day, the most important thing about this initiative is how we can improve the lives of residents and businesses in South Dakota through increased availability of broadband services and choices,” said Bianco.

A series of maps are already available at broadband.sd.gov/mapping.aspx, featuring an overview of broadband availability created with the assistance of Internet service providers statewide. Similarly, maps are being created that show the actual results from speed tests taken by South Dakota broadband users. Interactive maps allow users to enter a specific address and determine what broadband services are available at their location, and what speeds others in their area have achieved.

South Dakota’s participation in the project is funded by a grant to the state’s Bureau of Information and Telecommunications (BIT) from the U.S. Department of Commerce through the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Source: South Dakota Bureau of Information and Telecommunications


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