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Mapping Rural America: A Look at Field Validation Work

(June 25, 2019) - Connected Nation (CN) is working across rural America to confirm broadband access and speeds, and more importantly, identifying where broadband service is lacking. While broadband maps can be developed from a variety of data sources, sometimes field validation and verification activities offer the most detailed and comprehensive view of available services.

John Determan, a senior broadband field engineer for CN, travels to small towns and rural farming communities tracking down equipment and documenting where it’s located, its condition, and many other important factors. Sometimes, broadband providers even join Determan out in the field to evaluate equipment, review expansion plans, and discuss their challenges as a rural broadband provider.

“The work our engineering team does out in the field is so important to our vision that everyone belongs in a Connected Nation,” said Ashley Hitt, director of GIS Services. “The details on infrastructure locations and the feedback on where broadband services start and stop are essential to developing more accurate broadband maps and closing the Digital Divide.”

The below slideshow features pictures of new construction as well as speed tests done on equipment that is used to provide access to rural residents. If you look closely, you’ll notice some of the pictures show equipment that was damaged by winter plows and spring flooding.

In this instance, according to Determan's field tests, the areas profiled here now officially have FTTH (fiber-to-the-home) broadband service.