Nebraska Broadband Initiative

Broadband high-speed Internet access is transforming Nebraska’s economy and society.
Broadband high-speed Internet access is transforming Nebraska’s economy and society.

By Randy Saner, UNL Extension Educator

Broadband high-speed Internet access is transforming Nebraska’s economy and society. Beef producers are using more apps on their mobile devices and cell phones to keep track of cow records, pesticide application records, and markets. This works great if you have access in your area. You can help in improving coverage in your region by downloading an app called Mobile Pulse. The app will measure speed and availability of coverage on mobile devices. Simply search for the free Mobile Pulse app on your device. No personal information is collected. Data is capped at 100 MB/month (~5% of a 2GB monthly data plan).

Identifying broadband availability, speed, and location of broadband services and the mobile pulse app are part of the Nebraska Broadband Initiative’s mapping efforts. The Nebraska Broadband Initiative is part of a larger national effort to facilitate the integration of broadband and information technology into state and local economies. A map of broadband coverage is available at You can also take a speed test plus provide feedback on internet connectivity at this site.

Another component of the broadband initiative is planning. Regional plans have been developed with input from focused conversation throughout our region and a household survey. These plans can be viewed online at Statewide workgroups have been formed in the areas of broadband availability and affordability, digital literacy, agriculture, and economic development. You can be part of the work group. Contact me if you are interested (see contact information below).

Bench marking data is another component of the effort. A recent business assessment of the ag producers that responded (n=88) found that:

-88% for information, news and events
-86% for weather information
-66% for commodity prices and market information
-49% used broadband for crop management with 7% planning on using it in the next 12 months
-45% for auctions
-42% for direct product sales
-38% for water management
-36% for production testing
-33% for training and certification
-19% said they used it for herd management
-16% for animal registration
-17% for veterinary services and information
-3% for insemination services

A series of Broadband Technology fairs – Power of Business – Next Steps will be offered at the following locations. These tech fairs will be hands on short presentations on topics of interest. - Cloud computing, Security, Mobile Applications, Cool Tools, and Remote Sensing.

March 11 – Atkinson (contact Jay Jenkins at
March 12 - North Platte (contact Randy Saner at
March 13 – McCook (contact Nancy Frecks at
March 25 – Norfolk (contact Carroll Welte at
March 26 – Seward (contact Dennis Kahl at
March 27 - Grand Island (contact Dennis Kahl at
April 2 – Sidney (contact Connie Hancock at
April 3 – Alliance (contact Connie Hancock at

The Nebraska Broadband and Planning Initiative is funded through a grant to the Nebraska Public Service Commission by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and aims to increase broadband adoption and utilization. The Nebraska Public Service Commission led the mapping efforts. The University of Nebraska, Nebraska Information Technology Commission, the Nebraska Department of Economic Development, and the AIM Institute have led the planning efforts.

For more information contact Randy Saner at or 1-800-200-1381.