The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced today the launch of the Delta Broadband Mapping Project, an initiative aimed at strengthening broadband infrastructure that supports telehealth, distance learning, and remote work throughout the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state DRA region.
The initiative encourages residents to participate in the free, anonymous Delta Speed Test, conducted through an innovative crowd-sharing platform that collects and analyzes data in real time. The gathered information will inform and support strategic investments in critical infrastructure that will expand the availability of high-quality internet access across the region.
“Broadband is essential infrastructure that is often lacking, especially in rural areas of the Delta region,” said DRA Spokeswoman Shawna Blair. “The Delta Broadband Mapping Project allows our state partners to accurately identify digital divides and ultimately obtain state and federal resources dedicated to broadband expansion projects. In less than one minute, Arkansans can take the Delta Speed Test and help state and local leaders understand the internet capabilities within their communities.”
Arkansas residents are encouraged to participate in the Delta Speed Test by visiting dra.gov/speedtest. In addition to seeing their own upload and download speeds, participants will help policy makers identify gaps in high-quality, affordable internet access throughout the region.
“The Delta Broadband Mapping Project will allow Arkansas to better identify high-speed broadband needs throughout the state,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. "Over the past year, we have seen how critical it is that all Arkansans have broadband access, and we’re excited for this new project to help us pinpoint opportunities for expansion.”
“Accurate broadband mapping is a critical key to reducing the digital divide in Arkansas,” said Steven Porch, Executive Broadband Manager for the Arkansas Rural Connect Program. “Knowing where to focus resources is important for rural development and economic growth.”
The Delta Speed Test can be taken from any device that has an internet or cellular connection to your home Wi-Fi signal. The test takes less than one minute to complete, and no personal information will be collected. To participate, a device must be connected to your home internet service and disconnected from a virtual private network (VPN) that may be connected to a workplace or school. For the most accurate results, ensure that no one else connected to your home internet is using a substantial portion of the internet bandwidth for activities such as streaming video or gaming during the test.
Individuals without internet access in their home can visit their local library or other locations such as stores and restaurants that offer free internet access to submit the address of a home with no available service.
DRA is partnering with geospatial engineering firm GEO Partners LLC to obtain actionable data. To see images of the Delta Speed Test in-progress, visit dra.gov/research/broadband-mapping/. For more information about the Delta Broadband Mapping Project, visit dra.gov/speedtest.
About the Delta Regional Authority
The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions. DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development. DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.