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NTIA Announces Award for Six More Broadband Mapping Projects

in Broadband Data/Broadband Stimulus by

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2009 – The U.S. government announced Monday that it has awarded millions of dollars to five state entities and one nonprofit organization – Connected Nation – that proposed projects to help collect better data on broadband availability across the country.

The Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, the government agency responsible for taking the lead on broadband data as part of the $7.2 billion broadband stimulus program, announced funding for broadband mapping and planning activities in Alaska, Colorado, Delaware, Kansas, Louisiana, and Missouri.

The awardees must contribute at least 20 percent of non-federal funds toward project costs. Each state has designated one entity that it believes should receive funds under the program.

According to Monday’s announcement, five states will receive grants, plus Connected Nation – for its efforts in the state of Kansas. NTIA said the “state of Kansas will direct and implement all planning activities” for the organization. It has been awarded approximately $2 million from the government.

NTIA has also awarded Alaska’s Denali Commission, an independent federal agency, approximately $1.4 million for broadband data collection and mapping activities over a two-year period and nearly $500,000 for broadband planning activities over a five-year period in Alaska.

Other state entities to receive funds for broadband data collection, mapping and planning activities include: Colorado’s Governor’s Office of Information Technology, the Delaware Department of Technology and Information, the Missouri Office of Administration, and Louisiana’s Office of Information Technology.

The grants are made possible under NTIA’s State Broadband Data and Development Grant Program, which was created under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, passed by Congress and signed on February 17, 2009.

“The program will provide grants to assist states or their designees in gathering and verifying state-specific data on the availability, speed, location, and technology type of broadband services,” NTIA said in a statement.

“The data they collect and compile will also be used to develop publicly available state-wide broadband maps and to inform the comprehensive, interactive, and searchable national broadband map that NTIA is required by the Recovery Act to create and make publicly available by February 17, 2011.”

The data that comes out of the selected projects will also feed the agency’s national broadband map, a tool that is meant to inform policymakers and provide consumers with better information on the broadband Internet services available to them. The map will “display the geographic areas where broadband service is available; the technology used to provide the service; the speeds of the service; and broadband service availability at public schools, libraries, hospitals, colleges, universities, and public buildings,” NTIA states. “The national map will also be searchable by address and show the broadband providers offering service in the corresponding census block or street segment,” according to the agency.

NTIA has already announced fifteen grant recipients under the mapping program.

CWA Publishes State-by-State Download Speeds. How About Carrier-by-Carrier Speeds?

in Expert Opinion by

Blog Entries

August 15 – The Communications Workers of America’s Speed Matters blog this week published its state-by-state report on download speeds in the United States.

According to the report, the median download speed for the nation was 2.3 Megabits per second (Mbps), which it compared to median download speeds in Japan (63 Mbps), South Korea (49 Mbps), Finland (21 Mbps), France (17 Mbps) and Canada (7.6 Mbps). The median upload speed for the United States was 425 Kilobits per second (Kbps), which the report notes is “far too slow for patient monitoring or to transmit large files such as medical records.”

The CWA report was prepared based upon 229,000 tests in the United States from May 2007 to May 2008 – a truly impressive total.

BroadbandCensus.com is also taking speed tests as part our effort to map out broadband availability, competition, speeds, prices and service quality. While we have collected thousand of speed test results since we launched our web site in January 2008, we are still far short of the numbers of Speed Matters.

The new Speed Matters total tests compares with 80,000 speed tests taken from September 2006 to May 2007 and used in CWA’s July 2007 report.

The July 2007 report found a median download speed of 1.97 Mbps, and a median upload speed of 371 Kbps. The slight improvement from 2007 to 2008 means that “at this rate, it will take the United States more than 100 years to catch up with current Internet speeds in Japan,” according to the August 2008 report.

This current CWA report broke its current totals down state-by-state, from California, with 22,000 tests, to North Dakota, with 231 such tests. It used median download and median upload speeds to rank the states.

In terms of downloads, the top ten states in the CWA report were: Rhode Island (6.8 Mbps), Delaware (6.7 Mbps), New Jersey (5.8 Mbps), Virginia (5.0 Mbps), Massachusetts (4.6 Mbps), New York (4.1 Mbps), Florida (4.0), Maryland (4.0 Mbps), Georgia (3.0 Mbps), and the state of Washington (3.0 Mbps).

The internet company Akamai has also produced a state-by-state report about download speeds, ranking the percentage of states with greater than 5 Mbps for the first quarter of 2008. Five of CWA’s top-10 download states also made Akamai’s top-10 list: Delaware (1st place, at 60 percent), Rhode Island (2nd, at 42 percent), New York (3rd, at 36 percent), Massachusetts (8th, at 29 percent) and Maryland (9th, at 27 percent).

The remaining top-10 Akamai states were: Nevada (4th, at 34 percent), Oklahoma (5th, at 33 percent), Connecticut (6th, at 32 percent), New Hampshire (7th, at 30 percent), and the District of Columbia (10th, at 27 percent).

In terms of measuring broadband availability, competition, speeds, prices and service quality, BroadbandCensus.com believes that the next crucial step is to break those speed totals down not only by geography, but also by carrier.

In other words, it is good to know the difference between the download speeds in Connecticut and in California. But it would be great to know the difference between the actual download speeds of Verizon Communications, AT&T, Comcast, etc., within different locations in Connecticut and in California.

That’s what BroadbandCensus.com is currently working on. We don’t have enough data to have a reasonable gauge of carrier-specific data on a state-by-state, or county-by-county, or ZIP code-by-ZIP code basis.

But based on the results from those of you who have Taken the Broadband Census and speed test, we do have preliminary data about carrier-specific download speeds and upload speeds. We also can gauge the difference between carriers’ promised speeds and their actual speeds. This information is based, again, upon the bottom-up, or “crowdsourcing,” of information by those of you who have Taken the Broadband Census!

We’re putting together a report based on this information as part of partnership with the Pew Internet & American Life Project. That report will be released later this year.

Blog Posts and Web Sites Referenced by this Blog Entry:

Hawaii Broadband Task Force Aims to Tackle Problems of Speed, Competition

in States by

Broadband Census Hawaii

By William G. Korver, Reporter, BroadbandCensus.com

August 9 – In an attempt to increase speeds, lower prices and enhance consumer choices, the Hawaii legislature last year created a Hawaiian Broadband Task Force to study problems associated with high-speed internet access.

Download speeds on the island state are the slowest in the nation, according to a May 2008 report by Akamai, a company that helps web operators manage and accelerate bandwidth delivery.

Only 2.4 percent of Hawaiian users reached Akamai’s network at speeds of more than than 5 Megabits per second, according to the report. That compares to 60 percent of Delaware users, 42 percnet of Rhode Island users, and 36 percent of New York users.

The goal of the Hawaiian Broadband Task Force is to “encourage lower prices for broadband services and create more consumer choices.” The task force highlighted the role of “gaining wider access to public rights-of-way” in its December 2007 initial report.

In addition to removing barriers to broadband access, the Task Force is assigned to finding ways to increase broadband deployment and adoption and enable the development and distribution of new communication technologies in the state of Hawaii.

Initial working groups are focusing on what other states and countries are doing, data collection about broadband deployment, why broadband matters, and federal involvement.

The members of the Hawaiian Broadband Task Force include three members of the state senate, three the state house of representatives, four representatives from federal, state, and county government entities, and five technical experts from the private sector .

The HBTF’s first interim report was given to the legislature in 2008, and its final report is due in December 2008.

Nevertheless, Hawaii seeks to be included in the Asia-America Gateway, which should cost about $500 million. The gateway should provide a minimum capacity of 1.28 terabits per second and up to 1.92 terabits per second and directly link Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Guam, Hawaii and the U.S. West Coast, according to Telstra International.

Broadband Census Resources:

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