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More Louisiana residents needed to take this quick broadband speed test

The test collects data on the strength, weakness, and speed of internet for communities.
The test collects data on the strength, weakness, and speed of internet for communities.(KNOE)
Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 4:58 PM CDT
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WEST MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Broadband internet access has become an essential need, and it’s been proven time and time again during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s also a big topic on the national radar, which could mean grants and improvements for rural areas like much of the Delta Region states, which officials say “lack the adequate digital infrastructure to support access to critical services such as healthcare, distance learning, and remote work.”

But more Northeast Louisiana residents are needed to help make those grants and improvements a reality. All you need to do is test your internet speed by going to this site, entering your location, and clicking a button.

The Monroe and West Monroe-West Ouachita chambers of commerce are encouraging everyone to take the Delta Regional Authority (DRA) broadband speed test. In fact, the DRA says residents of the entire Delta Region, which includes Louisiana, Arkansas, and Mississippi are encouraged to take the test.

The test is part of the DRA’s Broadband Mapping Project which aims to help communities get grants and other support to improve broadband services. The data is used to create a map for communities to show the strength, weaknesses and speed of the internet. (View the results so far.)

You can also help if you don’t have broadband access at your home address. Just go to the site and enter the address that doesn’t have broadband access.

The West Monroe-West Ouachita Chamber of Commerce says it’s critical to know where broadband access is and is not to ensure those grants flow to the areas most in need.

“Having quality information on where the internet is and is not is going to directly influence these grant applications scores. The score matrix depends on how many federal dollars flow into our community. So, you’re spending 30 seconds a couple of times, you can take it a couple of times. Your location, it will take an average of that score, will influence how much federal dollars are flowing to our community and change our community for the next 30 years,” WMWO chamber communications director Kristopher Kelley said.

He says areas like Calhoun are underserved, so this information would help children in that area with their education.

It’s an ongoing process but more information quickly gathered could help with grants being issued in August.

Click here for the broadband survey or search dra.gov/speedtest.

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