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Metrics Working Group of the U.S. Broadband Coalition Offers 'Policy Options'

WASHINGTON, September 28, 2009 – The U.S. Broadband Coalition, an assemblage of more than 160 organizations pressing for a comprehensive national broadband strategy, on Thursday released its final report at the Federal Communications Commission.

Drew Clark, Editor of Broadband Census News LLC and Executive Director of Broadband Census Data LLC, was co-Chair of the coalition’s Metrics Working Group, together with Rob Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Below are excerpts from the final “policy options” crafted by the working group and included in the final report.

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WASHINGTON, September 28, 2009 – The U.S. Broadband Coalition, an assemblage of more than 160 organizations pressing for a comprehensive national broadband strategy, on Thursday released its final report at the Federal Communications Commission.

Drew Clark, Editor of Broadband Census News LLC and Executive Director of Broadband Census Data LLC, was co-Chair of the coalition’s Metrics Working Group, together with Rob Atkinson, President of the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. Below are excerpts from the final “policy options” crafted by the working group and included in the final report:

1. Increase funding for the Census Bureau to collect better data on broadband use

Under this option, the Census Bureau would add questions on broadband to the monthly Current Population Survey at least once a year. These questions would include whether the respondent subscribes to broadband and, if so, what they do with it. This would allow a host of data, including income, race, neighborhood, education levels, computer ownership, age, disability and other factors to be collected and analyzed. Second, the Census Bureau would significantly expand its E-stats efforts, which are currently limited to collecting data on e-commerce sales and some data on e-commerce use by manufacturing….

2. Implement the Broadband Data Improvement Act (BDIA)

Early on, the Metrics Group discussed implementation of the BDIA as an option to improve data collection and dissemination…. The NTIA will have to ensure that all states meet at least the statutory requirements of the BDIA.

3. Further Improvements and Refinements to the FCC’s Form 477 Process

As indicated above, the FCC has already revised its Form 477 process to collect and disseminate more granular broadband data. Some members of the Metrics Group believe that the agency should now move towards even greater granularity, by collecting data at the census block level. Other members believe that such a step is premature, as the FCC has yet to analyze and publish the new data they have obtained. …

The Metrics Group also discussed the possibility of the FCC funding the development of appropriate software tools to help aid providers in complying with the FCC’s Form 477 process. For example, an Application Programming Interface could help offset some of the cost and burden of more detailed mapping….

4. Support for an integrated, user-generated data system

As mapping becomes more advanced, input from users could become a key part of mapping. Some members of the Metrics Working Group support establishing a system that allows for consumer reviews and speed tests that measure actual upstream and downstream speeds would allow the FCC, and others, to make better informed decisions about the state of broadband in an area. Moving beyond the binary decision of “yes, they have broadband,” or “no, broadband is not available,” these members say that policymakers must be able to parse out the problems in a particular area….

5. Create an Office of Broadband Statistics that would be responsible for creating a National Broadband Data Warehouse, based on common standards and interoperable formats

Some members of the Metrics Group recommend that the NTIA create a Bureau of Broadband Statistics under the office of Policy Development and Management. Under this proposal, the Bureau would be in charge of overall national broadband data collection, analysis, and reporting and to ensure the most cost-effective use of broadband data resources. The Bureau would bring a greater degree of coordination, comparability, and quality standards to broadband data, and facilitates in the closing of important data gaps. Among other duties it would be in charge of establishing the broadband data warehouse where all data can be uploaded into a common database for use by anyone interesting in analyzing it. This data would be able to be presented graphically, including in geographic mapping format.…

6. The NTIA and RUS should require that as a condition of getting federal funds for data collection that the data be collected in an interoperable form and uploaded on a regular basis to a common data warehouse.

In addition, some members of the Metrics Working Group believe that the FCC should ensure that Form 477 data are integrated to the data warehouse, providing a useful cross-check on the data to be provided via the NTIA mapping program….

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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