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Small Nebraska Counties with Greater Broadband Availability Have Higher Average Per Capita Income

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Small Nebraska counties with widespread broadband availability have a higher average per capita income than counties with less widespread broadband availability. The average per capita income of small Nebraska counties with the greatest broadband availability was $27,642.40, compared to an average per capita income of $25,542.14 for those counties with the least broadband availability.
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Rural Nebraska Counties with Widespread Broadband Availability Have Greater Population Density

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Because the cost of deploying broadband per customer increases as population density decreases, it is not surprising that rural counties in Nebraska with widespread broadband availability have a higher average population density than counties with less widespread broadband availability. The average population density of rural counties with the greatest broadband availability was 17.0 persons per square mile compared with an average population density of 4.5 persons per square mile for those counties with the least broadband availability.
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How Does Nebraska Compare to Our Neighboring States in Population Density and Broadband Availability?

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In my previous blog, I explored the relationship between population density and broadband availability in rural Nebraska counties. Now let’s take a broader look at the relationship between population density and broadband availability by focusing on Nebraska and our neighboring states. With the exemption of Missouri--which has the highest population density, but ranks only above Wyoming in broadband availability—the states with the highest population densities also generally have greater broadband availability.
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Nebraska is in the Top Five for Business Broadband, But Lags in Residential Broadband Speeds

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With an average maximum committed information rate downstream speed of 81.7 Mbps and upstream speed of 77.4 Mbps, Nebraska ranks behind only Washington, Colorado, and Utah according to Dec. 2016 FCC Form 477 Data. Our neighboring state of Iowa ranks 6th in business downstream speeds and 8th in upstream speeds, demonstrating that both Nebraska and Iowa have the broadband necessary to support area businesses and startups which make up the growing Silicon Prairie.
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Broadband Availability at Higher Speed Tiers Increases, Widens Speed Gap

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In 2016, broadband of 100 Mbps down or greater was available to 71% of Nebraskans, up from 63% in 2014. This is great news to Nebraskans living in areas in which these higher speed tiers are available. However, the widening speed gap between those with access to very high speed broadband and the estimated 11% of Nebraskans who do not even have broadband of 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up available is a source of increasing dissatisfaction and frustration for those lacking broadband access.
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Broadband Availability—How Does Nebraska Compare to Neighboring States?

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Broadband availability is improving. However, rural broadband availability in the U.S., Nebraska, and our neighboring states remains a challenge with 88.9% of Nebraskans and 65.5% of rural Nebraskans having access to broadband at 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up. Nebraska lags the U.S. with 92.3% of Americans and 69.3% of rural Americans having broadband access.
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Broadband Availability—A Look at the Nebraska Broadband Map

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The Nebraska Broadband Map is a great source of information on broadband availability in Nebraska. Here is the map showing broadband availability of at least 25 Mbps down/3Mbps up as of 2016. A quick look at the map shows broadband available in Nebraska’s larger communities and some rural areas. Most rural areas, however, lack access to broadband at 25 Mbps down/3 Mbps up.
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How Has Broadband Availability in Nebraska and the U.S. Improved between 2014-2016?

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Broadband availability in Nebraska is improving, with fixed broadband service of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up available to 89% of Nebraskans in 2016, up from 84% in 2014. Although the percent of rural Nebraskans with broadband available improved from 49% in 2014 to 66% in 2016, there is still a significant rural-urban gap in broadband availability.
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New Blog Series Looks at Nebraska Broadband Data

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Rural broadband has been the focus of a number of recent hearings, reports, and legislation both in Nebraska and nationally, reflecting the increasing importance of broadband to businesses, health care providers, agricultural producers, students, and residents. Today, we are kicking off a series of blogs delving into the data on broadband availability and adoption with a focus on rural areas of the state.
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Partnership Launched to Help Close the Homework Gap for Rural Students

The Nebraska Library Commission has been awarded a National Leadership Sparks Grant of $25,000 by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) for a partnership project with the Nebraska Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) and five local school districts and public libraries. Five rural Nebraska school districts and public libraries will work together as partners to increase Internet speeds at the public library using fixed wireless technology to provide additional Internet to the library, augmenting the current Internet service. Nebraska communities participating in this one-year project beginning June 1 include Bancroft, Genoa, Imperial, Verdigre, and Wymore.
Read the press release.

Broadband availability in Nebraska is improving, with fixed broadband service of 25 Mbps down and 3 Mbps up available to 89% of Nebraskans in 2016, up from 84% in 2014. Although the percent of rural Nebraskans with broadband available improved from 49% in 2014 to 66% in 2016, there is still a significant rural-urban gap in broadband availability.
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Governor Ricketts Seeks Nominations for Rural Broadband Task Force

Governor Ricketts has announced that he is seeking representatives of agribusiness, business, wireline telecommunications, wireless telecommunications, public power, health care providers, postsecondary educational institutions, and rural schools to serve as members of the Rural Broadband Task Force. Interested applicants should fill out the nomination form on Governor Rickett’s website by June 8. Nomination forms can be filled out online, at https://governor.nebraska.gov/board-comm-req.
Read the press release (PDF).