New Map Hopes To Provide More Minute Data On Broadband Coverage

Jul 25, 2019

A new publicly generated map hopes to provide better data on internet speed in the state. The Wyoming Business Council and the University of Wyoming GIS department partnered up to create a tool that is more detailed than the federal data collected in the state.

Russ Elliott, the state's broadband manager, said the Federal Communications Commission surveys regions by census block, which can be hundreds of miles areas in rural places, while the state map goes by individual parcel.

"If you have a very large census block and someone on bottom corner of the block happens to be lucky enough to have a little service all that area is considered to be served, and there is no energy from the feds," said Elliott.

Elliott said with around 2,000 individual data points, the map is already showing areas where the federal standard is incorrect. He said Goshen County is marked as served under federal standards, but the map is already showing areas in the county are not served.

The map relies on individuals completing a broadband speed test and sharing their results on the map's website. But Elliott said there was one big hurdle with model they had to figure out.

"If you're going to measure where it's not, how are you going to get those folks online when they can't? So we have a postcard initiative going out," said Elliott.

Postcards will be shared widely throughout the state so people who do not have access to internet can fill the postcard out and be included in the map. Visit the Wyoming State Broadband Program to get more information and take the speed test.