Your Input Needed: Help map broadband internet access in Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi

Delta Regional Authority areas shown on a computer screen.
Delta Regional Authority areas shown on a computer screen.(Source: KNOE)
Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 4:10 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - High-speed internet is an essential tool in the day-to-day lives of many people across the U.S. That was true even before COVID-19 hit and broadband became a lifeline to the outside world for nearly everyone who sheltered at home to help fight the pandemic.

But if you live in a rural area, high-speed internet access can be hard to come by, even if you can afford it. Tech experts say internet access, especially high-speed internet access, is no longer the luxury service it was just 20 years ago; it’s become essential to the health and growth of individuals and communities across America.

The Delta Regional Authority, which serves a region that includes parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi, says the area “lacks adequate digital infrastructure to support access to critical services such as healthcare, distance learning, and remote work.”

You can help change that right now -- literally.

The Delta Regional Authority is asking for residents to help with their Delta Broadband Mapping Project by running internet speed tests. The crowd-sourced project aims to gauge internet speeds and map access across the region in hopes that deficiencies can be addressed.

To help, all you have you have to do is click here and run a short speed test. If you don’t have broadband, you can make note of that instead. Just follow the instructions on the page.

Anyone who lives in a DRA area is asked to participate. That includes parts of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee. Click on a state or click here to see if you live in a DRA area.

The DRA hopes information from this project can be used to get grants for regions that lack sufficient broadband access. They say that region could be yours and encourage you to run the test as soon as you can. It should only take a few minutes. You can watch a demonstration of the test here:

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