BEAM to create Mississippi Broadband Map, needs feedback from the public
JACKSON, Miss. (PRESS RELEASE) – The Office of Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) launched a new website to record internet speeds and gather information about internet usage and availability. This information will allow BEAM to create a unique and updated Mississippi Broadband Map that is critical for expanding broadband infrastructure in the state.
Any Mississippian who lacks adequate internet service should visit www.broadbandms.com. Those with no internet may call or text “Internet” to 601-439-2535 to report a location with no service.
The data collected is particularly important because Mississippi’s portion of federal funding from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA) will be determined by the number of unserved and underserved locations in the state.
Over the next few months, BEAM will be using data collected from the www.broadbandms.com website, along with other information, to challenge inaccuracies on the current federal map, which will be used in July 2023, to allocate funding among all 50 states. The federal map was recently released and does not accurately reflect broadband access and availability in Mississippi.
“High-speed broadband access lays the foundation for improving education, bolstering economic development, and increasing access to medical care for Mississippians,” said Governor Tate Reeves. “This is why it is critically important that accurate maps are produced which properly recognize existing coverage and any gaps across our state.”
“Our office has been compiling data and working with a mapping consultant to prepare for the release of the FCC map in November. We knew the initial map would not show a true picture of broadband service in Mississippi and our office is ready to engage in the challenge process so Mississippi will be fairly represented,” said Sally Doty, Director of BEAM.
The www.broadbandms.com website uses three separate methods to evaluate internet speeds and includes a short survey about internet usage. If a location has no service at all, users can indicate that on the website when accessed through cell service or while at a location that does have service. The website does not gather or disclose any personal information.
BEAM is the lead office for expanding connectivity to unserved and underserved areas throughout Mississippi. The office was created by House Bill 1029 and signed into law by Governor Tate Reeves during the 2022 legislative session.