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Massachusetts Broadband Institute Will Use Mapping to Identify Unserved and Underserved Areas

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2009 – The Massachusetts Broadband Institute on Wednesday announced that it would work with the MassGIS, the state’s Office of Geographic and Environmental Information, to begin to develop a block-level map of broadband infrastructure.

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WASHINGTON, May 10, 2009 – The Massachusetts Broadband Institute on Wednesday announced that it would work with the MassGIS, the state’s Office of Geographic and Environmental Information, to begin to develop a block-level map of broadband infrastructure.

The project is expected to take four months, and will focus on the unserved and underserved communities in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire and Hamden counties in the western portion of the state.

The announcement once again puts Massachusetts at the forefront of the states that have developing policies pertaining to broadband infrastructure and deployment.

In August, Gov. Deval Patrick (D) signed legislation devoting $40 million of state resources to ensuring broadband availability to every citizen of the state.

The passage of the fiscal stimulus legislation with $7.2 billion for broadband, also known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, has led Massachusetts to also aim to tap into the federal funds to leverage its state resources.

According to the press release about the partnership, the map “will incorporate multiple data sets into one map, creating an extensive inventory of existing assets and a detailed picture of where broadband gaps need to be addressed.” The press release about the agreement is here. [PDF]

“This project will provide a way to incorporate public input regarding coverage gaps experienced by Massachusetts residents and will put more sophisticated data to work in support of Governor Patrick’s goal to bridge the digital divide in Massachusetts by 2011,” said Sharon Gillett, who was named MBI director last month.

Gillett had been the head of the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Cable before taking the position as the head of MBI.

“In addition to helping the MBI make immediate operational and investment decisions in western Massachusetts, the interactive GIS platform created will be scalable in the longer term and well positions Massachusetts for state-wide mapping with federal funding through the Recovery Act,” said Gillett.

“This mapping project is a critical next step towards prioritizing specific and targeted broadband investments,” said Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki.

Housing and Economic Development officially announced the partnership with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Environment Affairs. MassGIS, or the Office of Geographic and Environmental Information, officially operates out of that agency.

Massachusetts’ existing broadband map is available here. [1.65 Mb PDF] It is based upon information about which carriers offer broadband within a particular township or ZIP code.

Because the state makes the underlying data about the names of the carriers publicly available, independent entities are able to make sure of the information.

BroadbandCensus.com has incorporated the carrier-specific information from Massachusetts into its public database of the Broadband SPARC – or local broadband speeds, prices, availability, reliability and competition.

In a presentation to the Commerce Department’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration, Gillett released two additional maps that show carrier-specific cable, telecommunications and wireless service footprints within Massachusetts. These Massachusetts maps are available on the NTIA web site. [PPTX]

In the NTIA presentation, Gillett also made the following point: “Transparency and accountability demand that if maps inform how public funds are spent, map data can be reviewed publicly.” The Gillett presentation to the NTIA is also available on the NTIA web site. [PPT]

Broadband Breakfast Club

Don’t miss the opportunity to register for the May 12, 2009, Broadband Breakfast Club at Clyde’s at Gallery Place. The theme of the April meeting will be, “Spending the Stimulus: How Can Unserved and Underserved Areas Best Be Defined?” Register at http://broadbandbreakfast.eventbrite.com.

Confirmed speakers include Rep. Rick Boucher, Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Communications Subcommittee, Randolph J. May, President, Free State Foundation; Jean Plymale, Virginia Tech eCorridors Program; James Bradford Ramsey, General Counsel, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners; and S. Derek Turner, Research Director, Free Press.

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.

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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.

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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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Broadband Data

Small ISP Organizations Push FCC for Flexibility on Broadband Label Compliance

Advocates say strict compliance requirements may economically harm small providers.

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Photo of outgoing WISPA CEO of Claude Aiken from April 2018 by New America used with permission

WASHINGTON, March 11, 2022 ­­– In comments submitted to the Federal Communications Commission Wednesday, organizations representing small internet providers are pushing for flexible regulations on compliance with a measure that requires clear reporting of broadband service aspects to consumers.

The measure was adopted at a late January meeting by the commission, mandating that providers list their pricing and speed information about services in the format of a “broadband nutrition label” that mimics a food nutrition label. Congress’ bipartisan infrastructure bill enacted in the fall required that the FCC adopt such policy.

The organizations that submitted comments Wednesday say that strict compliance requirements for the new measure may economically harm small providers.

Among those leading the charge are trade associations Wireless Internet Service Providers Association, NTCA – The Rural Broadband Association and America’s Communications Association as well as provider Lumen Technologies.

In comments, limited resources of smaller providers were cited as factors which could disadvantage them in terms of complying with the measure to the FCC’s standards and several organizations asked for small providers to be given extra time to comply.

In separate comments, internet provider Lumen said that the FCC must make multiple changes to its approach if it is to “avoid imposing new obligations that arbitrarily impose excessive costs on providers and undermine other policy goals.”

Last month, FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said that she looks forward to increased coordination between the FCC and state attorneys general for the enforcement of the measure.

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