The Federal Communications Commission's 2007 Broadband Survey rated Nebraska's availability of DSL high speed internet service through local incumbent telephone companies second only to Georgia with a saturation rate of 89%. It also found 94% of the state's population centers had broadband service access. Nevertheless, Nebraska's average download speed of 4.2 mbps in 2009, although up from 3.3 mbps in 2008, put it in 37th place.
The Nebraska Internet Enhancement Fund was set up in 2001 to provide financial assistance for the installation of broadband internet services. Priority is given to projects in remote locations with population scarcity. In 2005, the Broadband Services Task Force was established to look at availability throughout the state. It concluded that private internet providers were successfully deploying facilities.
The creation of the Task Force also saw the introduction of a ban on municipal broadband, resulting in protests that this prevented many remote communities getting wireless internet access or using existing fiber optic cable or DSL technology to obtain a service. Data produced in 2006 showed 7.4% of Nebraskan towns had no broadband ISP while 44.8% had a monopoly provider.
The Nebraska Public Service Commission launched a series of public workshops in 2006 to collect data about availability in rural areas. It invited any interested internet provider to take part. Local initiatives include the small town of Wilber, which formed a technology committee in 1996 and eventually worked with Diode Communications to install an antenna on the town's water tower. This provides a wireless service within an 8-9 mile radius providing there is unimpeded line of sight. In general, wifi hotspots are largely concentrated in the south of the state.
Set in two time zones, Central Time and Mountain Time, Nebraska experiences wide seasonal variations in temperature and precipitation. Thunderstorms and tornadoes are common in spring and summer.
The land comprises Dissected Till Plain and the Great Plains, resulting in a large agricultural sector that produces beef, pork, corn and soybeans. Freight transport and manufacturing are also important for the economy. Omaha is the largest city and Lincoln, the state capital, is second followed by Bellevue and Grand Island.
Cities in Nebraska likely to have, or soon to receive, fiber optic cable internet services include Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, Grand Island and Kearney. Locations in NE with highest population counts will be targeted first by providers, though relatively high speeds can be achieved with dial-up or DSL through companies such as Netzero and Charter Communications Cable.