Montana to Benefit from National Broadband Availability Mapping - news.mt.gov

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Montana to Benefit from National Broadband Availability Mapping

Monday, November 23, 2020/Categories: Montana State Library/Tags: broadband , Montana State Library , Mapping

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                     

Contact: Jennie Stapp

November 23, 2020                                                                                                 

(406) 444-3116

Montana to Benefit from National Broadband Availability Mapping

(Helena) – Montana consistently ranks near the bottom of studies that compare the availability of broadband internet services across the United States.  These studies, however, often paint the state with a broad brush.  To better understand the challenges Montana faces, the Montana State Library is leading a group of partners to support the National Broadband Availability Map.  Montana joins more than twenty others states that are working with each other and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to update the map which includes federal, state, and commercial information about broadband availability in the United States. 

“The Montana State Library is known statewide as the source for mapping information about Montana,” said State Librarian, Jennie Stapp.  “Broadband is critical to the future of our state and having more detailed information about where broadband is and is not available will help Montana to create more informed strategies to address this need.”

In addition to lending mapping expertise, in 2019 the Montana State Library undertook a study conducted by Bozeman firm, Saddle Peak Technologies, to better understand Montana public libraries’ technology challenges including the lack of available high-speed broadband.  The resulting broadband information will be included in the data shared with the National Broadband Availability Map by the Montana State Library.  

The Montana State Library is joined in its partnership to support the National Broadband Availability Map by the Montana Economic Developers Association and the Montana Telecommunications Association.   “Montana Economic Developers Association and the Montana Cooperative Development Center are excited to be part of this partnership bringing accurate broadband mapping to Montana.  This is the first step in developing a strong coalition to enhance Broadband connectivity across the State,” said Tracy McIntyre, Chair of the Montana Economic Developers Association broadband subcommittee. 

According to General Manager, Geoff Feiss, “The Montana Telecommunications Association recognizes that mapping is critical to understanding where we need to invest in broadband infrastructure so we can better identify rural areas with service needs.  We look forward to this partnership!”

“Information powers growth,” said Stapp.  “In this case, I hope information about broadband availability powers growth of this vital resource for our friends and neighbors.”   

The Montana State Library helps all organizations, communities, and Montanans thrive through excellent library resources and services.  For more information about the Montana State Library, visit http://msl.mt.gov.   For more information about the State Library, contact Jennie Stapp, State Librarian, at (406) 444-3116 or via e-mail at: jstapp2@mt.gov.  

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