Town hall set for better broadband funding


Residents who want better internet options are invited to learn how they can advocate for broadband in their homes and businesses.

The Seward County Broadband Task Force will host a “Broadband 101” town hall meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, at Seward Memorial Library.

The Nebraska Broadband Office will share how broadband works and how residents can advocate for their household needs, specifically by participating in the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Map Challenge, which opens March 1.

After two years of updates, the NBO says the map of available internet service in Nebraska is still not accurate, and Seward County residents can help bring more money to Nebraska to fix it.

Residents who are unserved or underserved by internet companies can submit a challenge to their designation on the FCC’s map, which will help Seward County qualify for part of $405 million in federal funds to improve broadband connectivity through the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program.

“We need to make sure our map as it relates to Seward County is as accurate as possible,” said Jonathan Jank, president and CEO of the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership.

The town hall is geared toward community leaders, those on village boards and planning commissions, people who rely on the internet to work from home, and anyone interested in advocating for better connectivity, especially in rural areas.

Presenters will break down the jargon surrounding internet connections and walk attendees through the FCC challenge process.

Part of the problem, according to the task force, is that a few major cellular carriers are reporting their mobile coverage, via data or mobile hotspots, as in-home broadband. That shows those locations as “served” or “underserved” instead of “unserved.”

Therefore, an address may be designated as “served” even if it doesn’t have access to broadband.

The FCC updated its map based on a first round of challenges from January 2023, but parts of the state still show as “served” when speeds claimed by providers aren’t actually being delivered.

Residents are encouraged to look at their address on the FCC map and see what their designation says.

The map is available at

Users must prove they are not receiving the speeds promised by their internet provider by running a speed test and submitting documentation, like a bill, stating the service they are supposed to receive.

Speeds that can be proven false will lead to an unserved or underserved dot on the FCC map. That will equal more money for Seward County to improve its fiber networks.

In Seward County, all challenges will be submitted to the FCC through the Broadband Task Force.

Individuals should contact Jacob Jennings, vice president and community affairs director for the Seward County Chamber and Development Partnership, who will help them handle the challenge process as a community advocate.

Jennings may be reached at or (402) 643-4189.