Montana conducting broadband speed test

The Montana Department of Commerce is conducting an online test to determine the speed and efficiency of the state’s broadband Internet services.

The test is part of the Montana Broadband Mapping Project, which is mapping the state’s high-speed Internet coverage, looking for any deficiencies, the Commerce Department said in a written statement Friday.

“Broadband” refers to high-speed Internet services, such as that provided by DSL, cable and satellite. It is contrasted with slower dial-up services.

“The data collected from these speed tests will help us plan for broadband services,” said Anthony Preite, director of the Montana Department of Commerce.

“Broadband technologies are key to bringing good jobs, educational opportunities and cost-effective services to Montana,” Preite said. “I encourage everyone to take the speed-test to help promote this project.”

The department wants to measure the need for broadband services in Montana, help telecommunication companies find markets for their services and help broadband-ready communities promote themselves to businesses looking for a home, the statement said.

To take the test, visit www.mtspeedtest.org, answer a few questions and click on the speed test button. People who don’t have access to broadband service can call 1-877-488-6277 to tell the Commerce Department know about the lack of coverage.

The more businesses and residents that take the speed test, the more accurate the broadband map will be, the statement said.

Once the test is complete, the results will be available online. They will also be incorporated in the national broadband map being compiled by the National Telecommunications Infrastructure Administration, which provided Montana with just over $2 million for broadband mapping and planning.