Nebraska wants to know how effective their mobile broadband is and they're asking for your help to do it.
The Nebraska Broadband Initiative has encouraged participation in network testing through a new mobile broadband testing application. The Nebraska Public Service Commission is using a mobile analytics firm, Mobile Pulse, to collect mobile broadband performance data.
This will help the Nebraska Broadband Initiative develop an inventory of wireless performance data for major providers and devices.
"The goal of this application is to validate the mobile broadband information that is provided to the NPSC and displayed on the state broadband map," said Gene Hand, director of telecommunications for the NPSC.
They are hoping for widespread participation and the effectiveness of the tests depends on it.
"The more tests performed, the better the analysis will be," said Hand.
Much of the state is rural and sparsely populated and this means some areas will see better connections than others.
"The app will tell us more about wireless connectivity in various locations throughout the state," said Connie Hancock, a University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension educator.
The wireless broadband testing will be conducted via phones that have downloaded the free Mobile Pulse app from iTunes or the Google Play store. To download the app, go to http://broadband.nebraska.gov/mapping or search for Mobile Pulse in the app store for your device.
The Mobile Pulse app collects anonymous location and device-type data and will not retain any personal data.
Once the app is installed on your phone, it runs automatically in the background without interaction. The app will use some data, up to 100MB per month, from the user's data plan and is designed to shut off automatically when the phone's battery runs below 10 percent.
The Nebraska Broadband Initiative will also host a technology fair for people interested in learning about broadband in March 2014.
For more details, visit www.broadband.nebraska.gov.