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Local Gov, Academic Research Team Works on Rural Broadband

A team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Lincoln, Neb., researchers and tech experts are finalists to lead a National Science Foundation research program studying novel ways to deliver broadband to rural communities.

by L. Kent Wolgamott, Lincoln Journal Star / July 28, 2020
City Campus Gateway Columns with new N icon. August 9, 2016. Photo by Craig Chandler / University Communications Office of University Communicati

(TNS) — A team of University of Nebraska-Lincoln and City of Lincoln, Neb., researchers and technical experts is one of two finalists to lead a National Science Foundation research program studying novel ways to deliver broadband to rural communities.

The Platforms for Advanced Wireless Research program currently has tests underway in three cities.

If awarded, the Nebraska Experimental Testbed of Things, known as NEXTT, would test models in Lincoln. Iowa State University is the other finalist.

The NEXTT team's goal is to develop advancements in rural wireless-broadband connectivity, focusing on technologies and support of configurations for “last-mile” and backhaul network architecture. Those advancements could reduce costs for providers and improve the quality of connectivity for residents.

Rural, low-income areas throughout the U.S. still lag in the number of residents who subscribe to broadband internet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That issue is attributed to lack of broadband infrastructure, both wired and wireless, which is costly for companies to provide in less-densely populated areas.

“Students need it to learn," UNL Chancellor Ronnie Green said in a news release. ”Many workers depend upon it to maintain their livelihoods. Businesses large and small, urban and rural, require it to remain competitive. This research testbed, if chosen for funding, would be an important component of the university’s commitment to meeting the needs of Nebraskans and, indeed, all rural Americans, in this crucial area.”

Lincoln, part of the U.S. Ignite-funded Smart Gigabit Communities network, is a national leader in developing state-of-the-art gigabit infrastructure that supports wireless needs for both homes and businesses.

In addition, Clay Center is partnering with the research team to provide feedback on how wireless technologies perform in rural areas. Several NU and U.S. Department of Agriculture research facilities are located near the town of 760 in south-central Nebraska.

©2020 Lincoln Journal Star, Neb. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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