As a journalist/blogger/techie/researcher – the new Iowa broadband map is right up my alley. Being able to layer data from more than 170 Internet providers in Iowa and compare things like mobile, DSL and fiber coverage is entertaining and useful for me. But, as many people who know me have pointed out, I’m not normal.
So, I found my co-workers had one question as I ran through the list of highlights on the interactive map – how does this impact our viewers? Why should they care?
My honest answer – there are some people who will not care. About 95% of Iowans have access to some form of broadband. And for those who have it, they may not care about an interactive map. And even for those without broadband access, I know some could easily go on living without it.
Basically, the average Iowan may not care about this cool new interactive tool. But for the average person who might read a technology blog like this one, I’m going to attempt to point out why I think you might care.
Test your speed: On the Connect Iowa site, you can test the upload and download speed of your Internet connection.
Shop around: You can put in your address and see all of your options for high speed Internet.
Share your story: Does your Internet connection impact your education, your business, communication with family or friends? You can share your personal Internet story on the Connect Iowa site. Hard data is one thing, but a personal story will give a whole new face in the Internet speed battle.
For me, the biggest benefit will come as other states complete similar projects. I’m curious to see how Iowa compares to our neighbors and the nation. We’re getting close on broadband access, but really that’s just a mile marker and not a final destination. If you look at fiber coverage in the state, there’s a lot of progress to be made…