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Broadband Census

Berkman Center at Harvard Launches Dashboard Aimed at Aggregating Broadband Data

in Broadband's Impact by

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts, October 2, 2015 – The Berkman Center for Internet and Society here has launched an ambitious new dashboard designed  to provide a visualization of internet health and activity.

The dashboard, which debuted at the World Economic Forum in Geneva on Monday, builds upon the prior collection of broadband data available through Internet Monitor, a project of Harvard Law School’s Berkman Center.

The dashboard is a tool for policymakers, researchers and users to understand, at a glance, various metrics pertaining to broadband access and use.

Internet Monitor Dashboard

It incorporates both real-time and historic data across three domains: access (the speeds and prices of broadband internet service), control (whether access been denied), and activity (the sorts of information being accessed by users).

“Over three billion people around the globe use the Internet—for communication, for education, for livelihood,” said Urs Gasser, executive director of the Berkman Center. “As the Internet becomes a vital part of more and more people’s lives and as we shape its future, we need both data and analysis to help understand how it’s working. The Internet Monitor dashboard brings this data and analysis together in an easily shareable way.”

For readers of BroadbandBreakfast.com, including those who have followed the early efforts of BroadbandCensus, the need for data about broadband speeds, prices, availability, adoption and competition will come as no surprise.

According to the frequently access questions portion of the Internet Monitor’s web site:

Internet Monitor’s Access Index aggregates 15 indicators to provide a rough single estimate of the quality of Internet access in countries for which we have collected enough data. We include measures of adoption, speed and quality, and cost, along with several indicators measuring literacy and education rates that attempt to round out the context of the score with additional information. A full explanation of how we collect, aggregate, and analyze this data is available here: A Hackable Access Index.

Indicators within the Internet Monitor Access index are collected into four groups. In order to receive a score, countries must have data for at least one indicator in each group. For definitions of these indicators, more information about their sources, and to download data, please see our Data page.


  • Percentage of individuals using the Internet
  • Percentage of households with Internet
  • Wired Internet subscription rate
  • Active mobile broadband subscription rate

Speed & Quality

  • Broadband adoption rate
  • High broadband adoption rate
  • Average connection speed (kbps)
  • Average peak connection speed (kbps)
  • Average download speed (kbps)
  • Average upload speed (kbps)
  • R-factor


  • Broadband monthly subscription charge (in USD PPP) as a percentage of monthly GDP per capita

Education (Literacy & Gender Equality)

  • Literacy rate
  • Population with at least a secondary education, female
  • Population with at least a secondary education, male

Internet Monitor’s data about access launched in July 2014. To this rich collection of information about broadband access – including speeds and prices – the Berkman Center adds the ability for users to see service interruptions, and real-time data of top edits on Wikipedia.

Project developers said that the dashboard aims to inspire both greater use of the data that exists and greater efforts to collect and share that data that does not yet exist.

“Internet Monitor is a key part of our effort to expand the evidence base for public and private decision making about the future of the Internet,” said Mark Spelman, Future of the Internet Initiative and World Economic Forum. “We are glad to be partnering with the Berkman Center on such an important venture.”

“Internet architecture relies on an extraordinary collective hallucination: there is no central authority or switching station,” added Jonathan Zittrain, faculty chair of the Berkman Center. “That has made measurement of even basic facts about the size and scope of the Internet, and the flow of bits within it, difficult. We need those measurements to inform any number of debates about the state and future of the Internet. This project aims to get them.”

Among the articles about the project include these from Harvard Law and the Boston Globe.

Drew Clark is the Chairman of the Broadband Breakfast Club. He tracks the development of Gigabit Networks, broadband usage, the universal service fund and wireless policy @BroadbandCensus. He is also Of Counsel with the firm of Best Best & Krieger LLP, with offices in California and Washington, DC. He works with cities, special districts and private companies on planning, financing and coordinating efforts of the many partners necessary to construct broadband infrastructure and deploy “Smart City” applications. You can find him on LinkedIN and Twitter. The articles and posts on BroadbandBreakfast.com and affiliated social media are not legal advice or legal services, do not constitute the creation of an attorney-client privilege, and represent the views of their respective authors.

Southeast Experts on Broadband Gather for Benedict College Conference

in Broadband Stimulus/Expert Opinion/NTIA by

COLUMBIA, S.C., April 21, 2009 – Representatives with broadband interests from southeastern states met at Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina on April 15, 2009, to discuss the status of broadband in their states and common approaches they might take to advance their interests.

Most of the participants stayed on for the “Towns and Cities” conference at Benedict the next day, on Thursday, April 16.

The primary topics of discussion related to the grants from the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration and the Agriculture Department’s Rural Utilities Service. Because of the value of responding to multiple objectives, the conversation expanded to include the potential stimulus funds for education and health care, and opportunities for meeting the needs of at-risk populations and promoting broadband adoption.

There was also discussion of the best ways to gather and display data to provide evidence in support of stimulus proposals that might be generated in their states.  There was a discussion of the value of overlaying demographic information on top of data related to the location and nature of broadband access at a granular level.

Consultant Chuck Sherwood summarized the efforts at regional idea-sharing in the New England states that has been going on for several months.  In many respects, it represents a model of what might be developed in the southeastern states.

Professor Richard Schmalbeck of the Duke Law School made a presentation on how a “limited liability low-profit” variant of a traditional limited liability company could be used as a structure to accept foundation program related investments as a low interest rate base foundation upon which stimulus grants, loans and loan guarantees could be layered.

The L3C deal structure is designed to support social investments, like broadband networks, that might fall short of marketplace underwriting.  This structure is currently under consideration in the foundation community.

Drew Clark, Executive Director of Broadband Census, summarized his approach to data collection and display to be used for either: (1) a quick overview of the location and nature of existing capacity at a statewide level; (2) a very detailed analysis to serve market research and feasibility studies for proposed stimulus projects; or (3) statewide education and outreach efforts.

The meeting concluded with an agreement to meet a second time in early May, with listserv discussions between the first and second meetings, and further outreach to other broadband interests in southeastern states. The conversations extended into dinner on Wednesday night and into the Benedict meeting on Thursday. It was a good start on effective collaboration. There appears the desire to keep going.

Editor’s Note

More information about the Benedict Collect conference in Columbia, S.C., is available in the BroadbandCensus.com Weekly Report from April 20, 2009. Click here for more information about subscribing to the Weekly Report.

BroadbandCensus.com Presentation at Federal Communication Commission Broadband Summit

in Press Releases by

Press Release

Presentation, ‘Legislative Update: Broadband Data Improvement Act,’by Drew Clark, Executive Director, BroadbandCensus.com

SAN JOSE, November 6 – Below is the Power Point Presentation made by BroadbandCensus.com at the Federal Communications Commission-National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioner’s Joint Summit: Connecting America.

Please note: The bottom of some of the slide are clipped in the presentation below, but all slides are visible by clicking through on the presentation below.

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