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Help bring better internet to your community

The lack of broadband is crippling rural American communities, and the need for better internet is dire and immediate. We continue to fight on your behalf to deliver on our promise of better internet for every Tipmont member and beyond.

Tipmont Wintek has been fortunate to receive over $20 million in grant funding from state and federal sources, allowing us to hire more crews and build faster to underserved communities. Indeed, the funding halved our original timeline to cover our entire electric service area from eight years to four.

But it hasn’t come without challenges.

Inaccurate service coverage data

The Federal Communications Commission has, for years, attempted to map broadband coverage. Previous efforts suffered from the following:

  1. The data relied on surveys of internet service providers that inherently overstated their coverage. For example, if one customer (often, a business) in a census block has broadband service, then the FCC data reports the entire census block as being “served.”
  2. There isn’t a standard definition of broadband. Most grant programs inadequately define broadband as 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. By comparison, Tipmont Wintek’s lowest service package is 250 Mbps download and 250 Mbps upload.

These problems impacted eligibility and led to the distribution of millions of dollars to the largest telecommunications companies in return for poor, or no, connectivity.

A new website gathering data from consumers

Data submitted by January 13, 2023 will impact Indiana’s federal broadband grant allocation

Thankfully, the FCC recognizes these problems and is taking steps to improve its’ service coverage data.

A new FCC mapping website is asking consumers to report and challenge current FCC coverage data ahead of a Broadband Equity, Access, and Deployment (BEAD) program that allocates money to states. Nearly all of Tipmont Wintek’s funding has come via state funding programs.

Although public challenges to the map will be accepted on a rolling basis, there is a short window (January 13, 2023) for a challenge to affect Indiana’s BEAD funding allocation. With $42.45 billion in broadband internet funding on the table, it’s critical for our area’s coverage data to be as accurate as possible.

Please visit https://broadbandmap.fcc.gov/home and review the data for your home or business address.

Reporting inaccurate coverage data

If your location is missing or inaccurately reflected on the map, you may submit a Location Challenge to correct or add the location. The link to correct information on an existing location is by the address on the map. You can add a location by clicking on the place on the map where the location should be and then clicking the “Challenge Location” button.

Rob Ford

Rob Ford

Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015. Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.

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April 2, 2024
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