FAQs about Broadband
Q: What is broadband?
A. Broadband refers to high-speed Internet access, which can be delivered using a number of different technologies such as digital subscriber line (DSL), cable modem, fixed wireless, broadband over power lines (BPL) or satellite. Broadband access can offer Internet, cable TV, two-way video, and telephone service without long distance fees, all with a single connection. Broadband service provides two-way data transmission to and from the Internet with advertised speeds of at least 768 kilobits per second downstream (from the Internet to the user's computer) and at least 200 kilobits per second upstream (from the user's computer to the Internet).
Q. I do not have access to broadband at my home. The State of Mississippi Broadband Mapping Website lists a number of broadband service providers in my area. How can I get broadband at my home address?
A. If the Broadband Map shows that there is availability in your area, but you do not currently subscribe to broadband at your home, contact one of the providers listed in your area. Through the Broadband Mapping tool, contact information is provided for each provider in your area. It may be helpful to make your first contact with the wireline or wireless service provider from which you get your voice communications service. There is a monthly subscription fee, similar to the fees paid for telephone or cable service to your home.
Q. I do not have access to broadband at my home and the State of Mississippi Broadband Mapping website says broadband is not offered in my area. How can I get access at my home?
A. It may help to start by calling the company that provides your telephone service first and ask if they offer broadband service. It may also be helpful to communicate with friends and neighbors in your area and ask them to also contact local broadband service providers to lodge their concerns regarding the lack of broadband service in your area. A united approach by prospective broadband customers may help to persuade service providers to make the necessary investment to accommodate broadband service expansion in your area.
Q. I can't afford broadband Internet at my home. How can I get access?
A. Public Libraries and other Community Anchor Institutions generally have several computers connected to the Internet that are available to the public free of charge. Many businesses like coffee shops and bookstores now offer free WiFi access.
Q. I'm a small business owner and I know that I need to do more online with my business but don't know how to get started. Can the state help?
A. Improving how Mississippi businesses take advantage of the potential of the Internet is one of the key goals of the state. The State is working to create programs and tools to help businesses increase productivity and sales through the Internet. In the meantime, please contact the Entrepreneur Center at the Mississippi Development Authority for help and ideas at (601) 359-3593 or http://entrepreneurcenter.mississippi.org.
Q. I don't have broadband at my home and/or business. Are there funds available to help me purchase that service?
A. There are not funds available through this program to help individuals purchase broadband service. Through the State of Mississippi Broadband Mapping tool, the state will provide information about providers in your area, but funds are not available at this time to help individuals purchase service.
Q. What is the best way to get providers' attention about my broadband accessibility needs?
A. Urge your neighbors and other community leaders who are under the same broadband accessibility restrictions as you to contact providers about increasing broadband options. Use the State of Mississippi Broadband Mapping tool to find providers that are near you and who may be willing to bring access to your area.
Q. Who is responsible for the money concerning the broadband projects currently underway in MS?
A. Currently, the Governor's Office is responsible for the stimulus grant funds that are funding this Broadband Mapping project in our state.
Q. I live in a very rural area of Mississippi but I would like to have access to broadband. What are my options to obtain such access?
A. Even in the most remote areas of Mississippi, broadband service can be provided by satellite technology. You should first contact your local communications service provider to learn of any broadband technology options the company may have. Such options would include wireline, wireless and satellite. You should also contact your cable television provider to learn of their capability to provide broadband access. Communication with these providers is critical to your obtaining broadband service.
Q. What's the difference between upstream and downstream speeds?
A. Information passes between your computer and the Internet in two directions: upstream and downstream. Information that flows upstream is sent from your computer to the Internet, such as sending e-mail attachments or playing two-way games. Information that flows downstream is from the Internet to your computer, such as surfing the Web or downloading files. Examples of upstream would be words that you type and send as e-mail or instant messages, pictures that you send as attachments to e-mail, or data as you fill out a tax form. Examples of downstream would be songs or movies that you download, pictures and other graphics that you locate through Internet surfing, or general information regarding a topic of interest to you. Please note that broadband service speeds are an estimate. The actual speed varies by provider and may vary.
Q. What are Community Anchor Institutions?
A. Community Anchor Institutions are schools, libraries, medical and healthcare providers, public safety entities, community colleges and other institutions of higher education, and other community support organizations and entities. Many times, those institutions will have broadband access and some may provide that access to the public.
FAQs About The Broadband Map
Q. Why are you mapping broadband availability?
A. This map has been created to improve broadband access and use for the citizens of Mississippi. The federal government, through funds provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), is helping every state create a broadband map in an effort to collect comprehensive information for the whole nation. In late 2009 the Mississippi Broadband Task Force received federal stimulus funds to provide information about where broadband Internet is available in the state as well as to identify gaps in service. Broadband providers who participate in this endeavor will have access to information that will help them extend service into areas that are currently unserved. Mississippi selected a vendor, BroadMap, for the mapping work.
Q. Will the broadband map be of use to me?
A. This map will serve as a resource for Mississippi households, businesses, schools, libraries, healthcare providers, public safety entities, colleges and universities and other community support groups to search for and find out which broadband providers offer services in their area.
Q. Who is funding this project?
A. The broadband mapping project is funded by a federal American Recovery and Reinvestment (ARRA) grant that is managed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), a branch of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Q. How was this map created?
This map was created by collecting information about service availability from providers of broadband (both commercial providers and public providers). Currently, we have broadband data from providers who were willing to participate in this program. A list of the participating providers can be viewed online. Data were compiled into a consistent format and displayed on this map. This map includes data aggregated to census blocks and street segments. This means that service availability is shown at a census block level for census blocks less than 2 square miles, but only by street segment for census blocks greater than 2 square miles. Providers were asked to provide information for their service area effective as of June 30, 2009. Any new service areas after this date are not reflected on this map.
Q. What happens to the information I provide to this website?
A. Information collected from Mississippi citizens will be used only to help build and update the broadband map. All information provided will be kept confidential and will not be sold.
Q. Is this the final version of Mississippi's broadband map?
A. This mapping program is voluntary and not mandatory. Thus, this map is the result of data collected from providers that agreed to participate in the program. Since there are still providers not included on this map, including satellite providers, this map is not yet final and will continue to be updated as new information is collected.
Q. Why do some areas show no service?
A. Areas may show no service for several reasons:
- The area may truly have no broadband service.
- Some providers decided not to participate in the program and therefore, we do not have any data from that provider.
- Some areas may show no service because the availability of service is shown along a street segment for blocks greater than 2 square miles. In such cases, houses offset from the street segment may still have service but are not represented visually as such. Confirm service by calling the specific provider.
- Areas served by providers using satellite technologies are not included in this initial version of the map because it displays specific broadband service availability. Satellite companies state they provide statewide coverage, and therefore did not provide sufficiently granular data. As more granular data becomes available from satellite providers, they will be added to the map.
- Service provided by the federal government or broadband service provided on property owned or leased by the federal government (military bases for instance) are not included.
Q. Why do I not see my provider on the list of providers?
A There can be many reasons for this:
- We may not have been able to identify a provider in the area.
- We may not have data because providers who were identified and contacted chose not to participate.
- The provider may have started providing service after June 30, 2009.
- If your provider is a satellite provider we are still working to get satellite data on the map.
- We have only received data from the service providers that own broadband facilities in the state. In the near future, we will update the map to also include service providers that provide broadband by utilizing another provider's network. (Also known as "resellers".)
Q. Why does the map show I am in a "served area" but I cannot get broadband service from any of the providers listed, or some providers show they supply broadband in my area, but this isn't the case. How can this be corrected and/or what are you doing to ensure an accurate representation of broadband coverage?
A. The broadband coverage represented on both the Mississippi and National Broadband maps are reflecting a census block view or street layer view, for census blocks greater than 2 square miles. If one address within the census block or on the street is covered, then the entire section will be highlighted as covered per NTIA requirements.
Other reasons may include data errors, or that providers listed only provide service to certain types of users, such as commercial entities. For actual service availability, please contact the provider directly.
We are continuously working with the providers, using input from you, to better refine the broadband coverage area represented to ensure it's the most accurate representation.
Q. What kinds of speeds are shown on the map?
A. The speeds maps shown are based on advertised maximum download speeds data provided by each provider of broadband. This may not represent actual speeds that users experience.
Q. What is the Speed Test and how does it work?
A. Users can test their Internet connection speed by running the Speed Test, which analyzes information like download speed, upload speed and latency (delay between your computer and the server its accessing).
It is important to note that speed results can vary and may not present a completely accurate representation due to various factors, such as network congestions, time of day, end-user's hardware, capabilities of a router, etc. Although there are variances in the result, data acquired over time will allow us to better identify areas where broadband improvements are needed.
Q. When I take the speed test, why am I asked for address information?
A. In addition to informing you about your broadband connection speed, we are using this data to inform the broadband mapping project. Your test results help verify the existence and quality of broadband in your area, which in turn helps us accurately determine which areas statewide have real broadband availability and which areas are underserved or not served by broadband.
Q. Why are my Speed Test results different from the advertised speed I am paying for?
A. Internal and external factors can degrade your Internet speeds. Internally, two of the most frequent causes of poor Internet performance are spyware and viruses. Spyware slows your system by interfering with your browser and taking over your Internet connection. Computer viruses can also cause slow speeds. Externally, local Internet congestion can result in connection speeds that are slower than normal. This occurs when many people try to connect to the Internet at the same time, particularly at peak activity times.
Q. What web browser should I use to view the interactive map?
A. The map is best viewed in Internet Explorer 8, Firefox 3.5, Chrome 4 or greater.
Q. How do I provide information or feedback on the map?
A. You can provide feedback on the map or data by sending us an e-mail at email@example.com.
Q. How do I change my screen resolution?
A. Screen resolution is based on personal preference but could be limited depending on the size and capability of your monitor/display. For most computers, you can change the resolution by following the steps below:
- Open Display Settings by clicking the Start button at the bottom left-hand corner of your screen
- Select or click on Control Panel
- Select Appearance and Personalization, then Personalization
For some systems, you may not be required to go through Appearance and Personalization and can go directly to Personalization
- Display Settings
Another option is by right clicking on your desktop and selecting Properties/Personalize and select Display Properties/Display Settings
Q. Why doesn't the interactive map work on my iPad?
A. The iPad currently does not come with Adobe Flash by default, which supports the FLASH environment that the interactive web application is built on. There are certain caveats that will enable this support:
- Jailbreak iPads where Flash is enabled via 3rd party application
- Skyfire browser and other emerging Flash application related support for Adobe Flash
Q. Speed Test Disclaimer