Telehealth broadband pilot program
To better understand the impact on telehealth access, the Telehealth Broadband Pilot Project is measuring high-speed Internet performance in rural Michigan communities. We have developed devices called Pods to test Internet speeds. Please watch the short video below or browse the FAQs for additional information. If you have questions, please contact us.
Help improve high-speed internet access in your rural community!
Residents and workers in counties shown in solid gold on the map below who have high-speed internet are eligible to participate! Eligibility in striped gold counties depends on your address. Counties shown in maroon are not eligible to participate.
Complete this form to participate.
Frequently asked questions
I want to participate in the program! What do I need to do?
Please complete this form. We will provide a free Pod that will measure your high-speed internet speed and the quality of that connection. The Pod only requires power and a wired network connection.
How were eligible counties determined?
This project uses rural designated counties determined by the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy.
What is the duration of the study?
Pods need to be installed for at least three months, but it would be helpful if it remained installed through November 2024. You do not need to return the Pods to us.
I want to use one of these devices, but I do not have a wired network connection. What are my options?
Currently, the project is focusing on measuring Internet speed in locations with wired connectivity. We are examining the possibility of using Pods with wireless connections.
How will my community benefit from participating?
By collecting data from you, we will be able to create an accurate picture of high-speed internet availability in rural areas of Michigan. This data can then be used to justify funding for high-speed internet expansion.
How will I benefit from participating?
You can view the data regarding the speed and quality of your high-speed internet connection, and it may help you identify potential problems with your internet connection.
Will the Pod monitor what I do on the Internet?
No. Similar to a speedometer in a car, the Pod only measures the speed of the internet connection. It does not have any ability to monitor anything else. Your privacy is especially important to us.
I received a Pod. What do I do with it?
Setting up your Pod should take approximately three minutes.
- Connect one end of the ethernet cable to the port marked ‘Ethernet’ on the side of the Pod.
- Plug the other end of the ethernet cable into a spare LAN port on your router. Typically, your modem and router are separate devices, and your Pod will be connected to the router.
- If you have an all-in-one modem and router device, plug the ethernet cable into a spare LAN port.
- Power up the Pod by connecting the power supply to the ‘USB-C’ port on the Pod.
- Green and orange lights should begin to flash on the port marked 'Ethernet' on the side of the Pod.
- Complete this form on a computer.
- You will need the 12-digit ID from the printed white label on your Pod to register.
- Your Pod is now set up and gathering data regarding your internet performance only.
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 Pod described above runs these tests to collect broadband speed information.
How are the measurement devices secured?
The operating system used for this is a minimal version of Debian 11, which means non-essential services and features are never installed to reduce potential vulnerabilities. Minimal network services are enabled, and in-bound ports are disabled. Security updates and patches are automatically applied daily. The software used to perform the speed tests only accepts updates from a centralized server and will only execute code that has been digitally signed with a certificate. Additional security information is available for those interested.
Who is funding this project?
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.