KFB seeks better cell phone coverage for rural Kansas

Kansas Farm Bureau was recently granted a waiver from the Federal Communi­ca­tions Commission to challenge the legitimacy of coverage maps from various major cellular carriers in Kansas.

“Coverage maps of Kansas indicate there is virtually full coverage by at least one cell phone carrier in the state,” said Rich Felts, KFB president. “But we know this isn’t the case from our experience with dropped calls and slow downloading and uploading speeds in rural areas of our state.”

The FCC is providing $4.53 billion in support over 10 years to primarily rural areas that lack unsubsidized 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) service, according to the FCC website.

Because the coverage maps of Kansas indicate there is service available from one carrier or another, KFB is seeking help from Kansans to show the lack of reliable cell phone coverage exists.

“Every Kansan deserves high-speed service no matter where they live,” says Felts. “From emergency services to advances in educational opportunities to precision agriculture, urban and rural areas alike depend on fast and reliable wireless service.”

Speed tests throughout the state will be required for Kansas Farm Bureau to show the FCC necessary data.

“This is where we need help from Kansans,” Felts said. “These speed tests are an integral part of being considered for the grant dollars provided by the FCC. To show our need for reliable cell phone coverage, we need to prove it’s an issue.”

Speed tests can be run by downloading the FCC Speed Test App in the Google Play store or the Apple App store. Install the app on your phone, then turn off Wi-Fi and enable GPS or Location Services. Run the test between 6 a.m. and midnight, and you must be outdoors.

For more information about the challenge and how to run the speed test, visit www.kfb.org/ConnectingKan­sas.

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