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Ward-level meetings planned to determine broadband availability

Ward-level meetings planned to determine broadband availability

By Randy Bell

An internet provider may claim it offers high-speed service, but, if customers’ devices are constantly buffering, the City of Clinton wants to hear about it. It’s working with the Broadband Expansion and Accessibility of Mississippi (BEAM) office to determine the accuracy of a broadband map, which identifies locations across the state as served, unserved, underserved or in areas where funds have been allocated to improve the level of service.

“They’re opening up the ability to challenge the map,” says Clinton’s Director of Communications and Tourism Marlee Price. “That is what we want to be able to do, within this challenge period – make sure we communicate with people in our town who may be having issues with their internet.”

Price says challenges can be based on the availability of broadband or the speed of the internet service. She says a key question is: “Even if you’re served, are you being served properly?”
The answer may be as simple as a speed test.

The City will be recruiting local residents to log onto the website BroadBandMS.com and look for the red button labelled “Test Your Internet.” But the speed tests will need to be coordinated. BEAM says a minimum of six households within a census block will have to run three separate tests over several days at different times of day.

While the central core of Clinton has access to broadband, some parts of the city don’t, especially in the northernmost areas, where internet providers don’t consider it as lucrative to offer service, because housing isn’t as dense. A map which accurately depicts the level of internet service is crucial in securing federal broadband expansion funding.

“I think that [BEAM] is really trying to keep these companies accountable,” Price says, “for not only providing service, but providing good service. After this map has the most accuracy that we can provide, they want to divide [unserved and underserved areas] into projects and bid out these projects to these companies, to make sure that all of these areas are serviced.”
The City is hoping to schedule public meetings for each of the six wards to determine where map errors exist and to explain the challenge process.

“I’m a firm believer that a lot of voices are much stronger than one,” Price says. “And, so, if I send them a list of seventeen to twenty-five challenges to the map, then that’s better than one individual sending in [one challenge].”

The meetings will be held in the next few weeks.

“They’re opening up the window for challenges at the beginning of March,” Price says. “And we have thirty days to challenge.”

 

Broadband Map Challenge Meetings

In an effort to bring strong, reliable broadband to the entire Clinton community, the City of Clinton will be holding a broadband meeting to review the BEAD map for residents on February 29th and March 7th at 5:30 pm at the Wood Activity Center, 111 Clinton Blvd.

The meetings will be available to all residents who are misrepresented on the BEAD map which can be viewed by clicking the link below. The BEAD map lists each residence as unserved, served, underserved, and funded. For the purposes of the meetings on the 29th and 7th, we will be focusing on those residents who may present challenges to the map which include:

  1. Address listed as served but no broadband access is available
  2. Speed paid for is not the speed provided (test your broadband at broadbandms.com )
  3. Latency causes buffering when an action is taken (ex: viewing a video)
  4. Technology, or service provider, is listed by the map but is unavailable in your area
  5. Service provider advertised but not available
  6. Submit proof of a data cap of 600 GB/month (it should be listed on your monthly bill)

If you are unserved and represented as unserved, the map is an accurate reflection of your current accessibility, and no challenge should be made to the map’s accuracy.

Review BEAD Map

Click the link above to view the BEAD map, enter your address in the top right corner to view your bead eligibility.

If you have a challenge, you can report that challenge here: BEAD Map Challenge Form 

If you are unsure if you have a challenge, or are looking for more information, please attend one of the meetings on February 29 or March 7 for a more in depth look at the BEAD map and what challenging the accuracy of the map entails.

For additional questions or concerns contact Marlee Price at mprice@clintonms.org or 601-813-6379.

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