Residents of Concordia interested in getting high capacity internet are asked to take the Delta Speed Text, designed to map the digital needs of the parish.
Police Jury Secretary-Treasurer Sandi Burley said the results of the test will provide the parish with the data needed to implement broadband infrastructure improvements.
The federal government is investing $12 million to provide broadband service to Avoyelles, Concordia, Evangeline, Pointe Coupee, and Rapides parishes.
The 30-second test is available at the Delta Regional Authority website: dra.gov/speedtest.
Burley said the Jury is spreading the word through all available means and urging parish residents to take the test designed to break the digital divide.
She said 70 percent participation is needed to get the data needed to support the project. The Jury is launching a public participation program and is placing fliers in public buildings and at some business locations. Additionally, bright orange fliers are being provided to schools to be distributed with report cards.
“We need our constituents to participate,” Burley said. “Without the help of our residents, a portion of the potential funding will have to go to a third party to collect this data. That is less money available to use toward actual building of infrastructure.”
DRA announced in April 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, Louisianans can take the Delta Speed Test and help state and local leaders understand the internet capabilities within their communities.”
Louisiana 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 in the region.
"I want to thank the DRA for its partnership in this project that will be an anchor step towards addressing the challenges and identifying solutions to substantially reducing the digital divide not only in our state but across the entire eight state Delta region,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said. “This vital step will help accelerate the efforts of the newly created Broadband Development and Connectivity office that I recently announced and continue the momentum my administration is driving to increase broadband access and affordability. The data generated from this mapping effort, in partnership with the citizens of Louisiana, DOTD, La Planning and Development Districts, and the Broadband for Everyone in Louisiana Commission, will be used in a variety of ways to provide new economic development opportunities in healthcare, agriculture, education and many other sectors."
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.
Today, Gov. John Bel Edwards released a statement on the allocation of over $342 million in support to expand broadband to more than 175 thousand unserved homes and businesses in Louisiana over the next 10 years.
"Broadband connectivity is one of the major issues facing rural Louisiana and I have made working with our federal partners to enhance the availability of broadband service one of my top priorities," Gov. Edwards said. "This allocation will go a long way in increasing the connectivity of hundreds of thousands of Louisianans, which will improve their ability to participate and compete in an ever-growing digital world."