Telehealth broadband pilot program
The Telehealth Broadband Pilot Program is a grant-funded initiative to measure broadband performance and Internet availability in Michigan, with an emphasis on evaluating how connectivity affects telemedicine access. The goal of the project is to collect accurate data to support future broadband deployment efforts. Central Michigan University provides the necessary hardware, software, and training to partnering institutions for no cost to them.
The project's initial phase involves measuring broadband in healthcare facilities and anchor institutions by using a small hardware device that plugs into a network connection. These devices run Internet speed tests on a recurring schedule, with a dashboard for viewing test results. Participating in this program will allow you to collect Internet speed data for your facilities, which can help you identify potential problems with your Internet access, and degradations in service, and determine if you are receiving the Internet speeds that you are paying for. Data will also be used to help determine if broadband is available in your community, and may help identify areas that need more broadband investment.
Later phases of the project will include web- and mobile-based speed tests, and participants will expand to include consumers within each community. As part of this project, we will measure broadband performance and Internet availability in central Michigan counties.
This project is funded through Health Resources and Services Administration grant number GA5RH40183, awarded to the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium. Central Michigan University is one of three sub-awardees supporting this grant.
Device set up
A small computer called a “Raspberry Pi” is the primary tool used for measuring broadband speeds in healthcare facilities and anchor institutions within each community. This device runs a secure version of the Linux operating system, and executes proprietary software that manages speed tests from Measurement Labs and Ookla, LLC.
This device requires power and a wired network connection with outbound access to the Internet. These devices are provided with a unique identifying number and will need to be configured with address information and latitude and longitude coordinates to provide accurate location information for mapping purposes. Additional information is available in the “Frequently Asked Questions” portion of this page.
Participating in this project
As an organization or business
We are looking for partners to participate by hosting a pod at your location, if you are a business owner, or affiliated with a Hospital, Clinic, School, Community Center, or other location within central or northern Michigan, contact us.
As an individual
Within the next couple of weeks, this website will be enhanced with an online broadband assessment tool. This tool will allow individuals to participate in the project.
For more information, please see the Frequently Asked Questions below or contact us.
Frequently asked questions
I want to participate in the program! What do I need to do?
Contact us! We will assign you a Community Lead Partner to determine how many measurement devices you will need, and for which sites. Devices and training will be provided at no cost
to interested and eligible participants within the counties served by this project.
I received a measurement device (a.k.a Pod) in my healthcare facility or anchor institution. What do I do with it?
The device should be “plug-and-play” when it arrives at your site. Simply plug the
device into a standard 110-volt power source and connect it to an active network jack
and the device will do the rest. If you are using the web-based portal to manage
your devices, you should be able to see it show online within a few minutes.
What speed testing services do you use?
The two leading Internet speed test services in the US are created
and managed by Measurement Labs and Ookla, LLC. M-Labs NDT7 and Ookla Speedtest CLI
are the two testing platforms used by this project to measure Internet speed. The applications do this by uploading and downloading data and measuring the connection’s
speed as well as other network quality information such as jitter, latency, and packet
loss. The hardware-based measurement device described above runs these tests to collect
broadband speed information.
This project collects additional data related to each hardware-based measurement
device but will not transmit these details to M-Lab or Ookla.
What counties are participating?
The grant is funded for Gladwin, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Osceola, and Oscoda counties.