Western Nevada launches speed test to support broadband planning and expansion

Western Nevada launches speed test to support broadband planning and expansion
Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

CARSON CITY—The Nevada Speed Test has begun, and no, it does not involve fast cars racing through the desert. The yearlong project was launched this month by the Western Nevada Development District (WNDD) to gather data on broadband connectivity throughout Nevada which will aid in improving regional broadband infrastructure.

Improving broadband access and infrastructure is a key element of funding approved in the American Rescue Plan and has been identified as one of seven project areas of focus for the Governor’s Office of Economic Development.

“During the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, broadband connectivity has been revealed as a cornerstone to business resiliency, education opportunities, financial literacy, access to employment and health care through telemedicine,” said a spokesperson for WNDD.

By participating in the speed test, Nevadans can help to provide data that will be used as a tool to pursue grants for broadband infrastructure projects and plan expansion of the network through ARP funding.

“As local communities are dealing with community connectivity, or trying to apply for federal grants, we are running into challenges with the data that is needed to support those projects and grant applications,” said Reno City Councilwoman Naomi Duerr, who also serves as president of WNDD.

Nevadans are being asked to visit www.nevadaspeedtest.org from their home, school, or work and complete the speed test process, which takes about a minute. The site will collect real-time internet speed data—and nothing else—which will be analyzed by GEO Partners LLC, an independent broadband data collection and analysis company.

“Participation by everyone is essential,” WNDD officials said in a statement. “No personal information will be collected. Repeated speed tests are encouraged during the one-year initiative to better capture variations in internet speeds and collect more statistically valid data.”

Once the study is complete, GEO Partners will analyze the data to identify areas of the state that are most in need of improved reliable and affordable access to broadband.

More information is available at www.wndd.org/broadband.