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Proprietary Data Cited as Challenge for Broadband Mapping

WASHINGTON, September 26 – State and federal government programs to develop maps of broadband service availability at a granular level must overcome objections by carriers to revealing what they view as proprietary information, although carriers may actually find the resulting maps beneficial, panelists at the Broadband Census for America Conference said today.



Editor’s Note: The following story was published in TR Daily on September 26, 2008, and is reprinted with the permission of Telecommunications Reports International, Inc. This article is and remains Copyright 2008 Telecommunications Reports International, Inc.

By Lynn Stanton, TR Daily

State and federal government programs to develop maps of broadband service availability at a granular level must overcome objections by carriers to revealing what they view as proprietary information, although carriers may actually find the resulting maps beneficial, panelists at the Broadband Census for America Conference said today.

Speaking at the conference held at the Washington office of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, Art Brodsky, director-communications at Public Knowledge, criticized the carriers’ objections to broadband mapping projects by questioning the proprietary and competitive value of information on where carriers have already deployed broadband services. He noted that carriers are not being asked about future deployment plans, which would more clearly involve competitive concerns.

Drew Clark, executive director of, which was one of the sponsors of the conference, noted that the FCC and carriers have objected to attempts to obtain underlying carrier data on broadband deployment submitted to the FCC, arguing that disclosure causes competitive harm by permitting new entrants to better target those areas lacking broadband competition. Because the data submitted to the FCC has not been made publicly available, and others, including the Communication Workers of America’s Speed Matters program, have resorted to obtaining information directly from consumers, a process Mr. Clark termed “crowd-sourcing.” By submitting information on their own service at a particular location, and taking download and upload speed tests, individual users can participate in the development of broadband maps or databases.

Mr. Clark said the three purposes of are to aid the process of competition, serve policy-makers, and aid consumers.

Mark McElroy, chief operating officer of Connected Nation, said that a mapping program will be beneficial if it’s relevant to consumers, in that the map can tell them if they can get broadband at home; if it’s relevant to providers, in that it can let them know where and why they should extend their networks; and if it’s relevant to increased digital literacy, in that it can be used in conjunction with an effective demand stimulation effort.

Debbie Goldman, coordinator of the CWA’s Speed Matters, said that in developing broadband mapping and deployment policies, “the states are the laboratories because unfortunately we don’t have a national policy.”

Kenneth Flamm, a professor of public affairs the University of Texas-Austin, said that collecting information on broadband use “is a job actually for the federal government and the federal statistical agencies,” but that they lack adequate funding and don’t do a good job of keeping up with relatively new services. “There shouldn’t be an argument about whether the government going out to try to measure the state of the market is somehow infringing [on private companies] . . . There’s no private-public conflict here,” he added.

A member of the audience suggested the Internal Revenue Service and private online tax-filing companies could capture information on broadband connection rates with an “opt-in” speed-test at the time of filing. Mr. Flamm said that was a “clever idea.”

Speaking during the closing keynote, Eamonn Confrey, first secretary-information and communications policy at the Irish Embassy in Washington, explained his country’s broadband initiatives, which include its website. The overall purpose of the site is to help consumers and small business, he said. While customers cannot order broadband service on the site, it does include links to broadband providers in their area. It also has a tool to check if digital subscriber line (DSL) service – the principal nonmobile broadband technology in Ireland – is available at the user’s fixed-line phone number.

The website also allows consumers “to register their demand for broadband,” so providers can see where there is demand.

“Initially, there was a lot of resistance from larger providers” to listing their services on the website, which is a voluntary process for providers, Mr. Confrey said. Eventually, however, they came to see it as a competitive disadvantage not to be listed there. The website “has proved to be a win-win for provider and consumer alike,” he added.

The government also recently launched a national broadband scheme to reach the remaining 10% of the population that does not have broadband service available, Mr. Confrey said. The government provides funding to induce broadband in those areas while setting requirements to ensure that “the winning company won’t be able to cherry-pick” within the contracted area.

Mr. Confrey emphasized that the Irish government views broadband deployment as “an economic competitiveness issue for us,” as the country seeks to retain employers like Yahoo, Inc., and Google, Inc., that are attracted by an English-speaking, “fairly well educated” workforce in Europe. “You simply won’t retain that kind of investment without the infrastructure,” he added.

– Lynn Stanton,

TR Daily, September 26, 2008

Copyright © 2008, Telecommunications Reports International, Inc.

Broadband Data

Many Data Points Required for Broadband Planning, Event Hears

An assortment of data will be useful in all phases of the broadband planning process.



Photo of Kristin Lardy of CORI

WASHINGTON, June 22, 2023 – Providers must invest in data collection for physical location, existing network infrastructure, and community needs and interests, advised the Center on Rural Innovation at a panel discussion Thursday.  

Physical location data includes a map of all buildings, identification of which buildings are eligible for or need broadband service, what services are provided, and fiber drop distances. Providers will need this information to understand how to utilize federal investment money from the Broadband Equity Access and Deployment program, which award amounts are set to be announced later this month. 

Not only will providers need information on poles, towers, hubs, and fiber infrastructure ownership but they will also need insight on community needs and interests, said presenters. These include barriers to access and customer interest in a new internet provider. 

This assortment of data will be useful in all phases of the planning process, said Kirstin Lardy, broadband consultant at CORI, such as the market analysis phase for penetration assumptions, network design for projected costs, and financial modeling for forecast of costs and revenues.  

Data can be collected from federal resources like the Federal Communication Commission’s national broadband and funding map, which can be used to determine what areas are covered by federal subsidy and where communities should focus their efforts.  

Further data is also available at the municipal level which often hosts information about location of structures, types of structures, vacant lots, addresses, pole data, power distribution paths and rights of way.  

Engaging with community anchor institutions is essential to building comprehensive and useful data sets, added Kristen Corra, policy counsel at the Schools, Health and Libraries Broadband Coalition. She urged providers to work with localities to gather information. 

States may also collect data directly from providers and users through speed tests, surveys, and censuses. 

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Broadband Data

Ookla Has Verizon as Fastest Q1 Fixed Provider, T-Mobile Takes Top Spot for Mobile

T-Mobile was also named the most consistent mobile operator and topped 5G download speeds.



Image of Speedtest from May 2017 by Daniel Aleksandersen used with permission

WASHINGTON, April 18, 2022 – A market report released Friday by performance metrics web service Ookla named Verizon the fastest fixed broadband provider in the U.S. during the first quarter of 2022, and T-Mobile as the fastest mobile operator during the same period.

Verizon had a median download speed of 184.36 Mbps, edging out Comcast Xfinity’s speed of 179.12 Mbps. T-Mobile’s median mobile speed was 117.83 Mbps.

Verizon had the lowest latency of all providers, according to Ookla, well ahead of Xfinity’s fourth place ranking, yet sat at third for consistency behind both Xfinity and Spectrum.

T-Mobile was also the most consistent mobile operator during the first quarter, achieving an Ookla consistency score of 88.3 percent, which along with median download speed represented an increase from the fourth quarter of 2021.

The company also achieved the fastest median 5G download speed, coming in at 191.12 Mbps.

Verizon also notably increased its 5G download speed from its Q4 metric, attributed in part to the turning on of new C-band spectrum in January following deployment delays and protest from airlines. For mobile speeds, it stood in second behind T-Mobile, bumping AT&T to a standing of third. These rankings were the same for mobile measures of latency and consistency.

Yet on 5G availability, AT&T remains ahead of Verizon.

The Samsung Galaxy S22 Ultra came in as the fastest popular device in the country, running at 116.33 Mbps.

Ookla is a sponsor of Broadband Breakfast.

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Broadband Data

FCC’s Rosenworcel: Broadband Nutrition Labels Will Create New Generation of Informed Buyers

The FCC hopes companies will make it easier for consumers to choose a broadband plan that fits their needs.



Photo of Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel speaking at the Mobile World Conference 2022 in Barcelona

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2022 – The Federal Communications Commission’s broadband nutrition labels will usher in a new era where buyers have simple information about what they’re buying, agency Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said Friday.

Consumers should know what they’re signing up for when they spend hundreds “or even thousands” of dollars per year for internet service. She was speaking at Friday’s commission hearing on its so-called broadband nutrition label initiative.

The hearing comes on top of a public comment period on the initiative. Many providers are pushing for more flexible regulations on compliance.

When consumers choose a broadband provider for their household, Rosenworcel said may people make decisions with “sometimes incomplete and inaccurate information.”

“The problem for broadband consumers isn’t a total lack of information, but there’s loads of fine print,” Rosenworcel said. “It can be difficult to know exactly what we are paying for and these disclosures are not consistent from carrier to carrier,” which makes comparing prices and services harder and more time-consuming for consumers.

The comments built on other recent speeches by Rosenworcel promoting the initiative, encouraging state attorneys general’s ability to enforce companies’ commitments through their states’ consumer protection statutes.

The FCC began a plan in 2015 for broadband labels that was voluntary. The new initiative directed by last year’s bipartisan infrastructure law makes this effort mandatory for broadband providers.

Matt Sayre, managing director of cross sector economic development firm Onward Eugene, said residents in rural Oregon would benefit from simple information when considering broadband providers. During a time where dial-up and satellite-based offerings were primarily available, Sayre said his neighbors “never used terms like latency or packet loss.”

“These are important aspects of good internet service, but not easily understood by most people,” Sayre said. “Citizens understood they needed better service but were uncertain about what tier of service they needed. This is where broadband labels can be very helpful.”

The hearing was the agency’s first on the initiative.

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