DRA Launches Delta Broadband Mapping Project in Louisiana

April 13, 2021

The free, anonymous Delta Speed Test will measure internet capabilities; detect areas lacking access and affordability.

CLARKSDALE, MS – The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) announced today 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.

To see images of the Delta Speed Test in-progress, visit dra.gov/research/broadband-mapping/.

For more information about the Delta Broadband Mapping Project, visit dra.gov/speedtest.

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About the Delta Regional Authority

The Delta Regional Authority (DRA) is a federal-state partnership created by Congress in 2000 to promote and encourage the economic development of the Mississippi River Delta and Alabama Black Belt regions.  DRA invests in projects supporting transportation infrastructure, basic public infrastructure, workforce training, and business development.  DRA’s mission is to help create jobs, build communities, and improve the lives of those who reside in the 252 counties and parishes of the eight-state region.

DRA Media Contact:
Shawna Blair
Director of Communications and Public Engagement
202-515-1354
sblair@dra.gov

DRA Program Contact:
Aury Kangelos
Program Manager
901-484-5082
akangelos@dra.gov