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BroadbandCensus.com Sees Hope in NTIA’s Request for Form 477 Database

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2009 – The news that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration aims to seek access to the Form 477 database is positive news — providing that the public obtains access to the database, too.

Even before the founding of BroadbandCensus.com more than two years ago, the individuals associated with the data side of BroadbandCensus.com have been urging the public disclosure of basic broadband data. We call this the Broadband SPARC: for Speeds, Prices, Availability, Reliability and Competition.

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WASHINGTON, November 30, 2009 – The news that the National Telecommunications and Information Administration aims to seek access to the Form 477 database is positive news — providing that the public obtains access to the database, too.

Even before the founding of BroadbandCensus.com more than two years ago, the individuals associated with the data side of BroadbandCensus.com have been urging the public disclosure of basic broadband data. We call this the Broadband SPARC: for Speeds, Prices, Availability, Reliability and Competition.

In comments in July 2008, BroadbandCensus.com urged greater disclosure of this data.

We repeated these comments, adding a new twist – that a National Broadband Plan must be accompanied by a National Broadband Mashup – in June 2009.

As readers of BroadbandBreakfast.com are aware, Broadband Census LLC has recently split our operations between our news and events, which we publish on BroadbandBreakfast.com, and our data operations, which continues on BroadbandCensus.com.

BroadbandBreakfast.com continues our tradition of reliable news reporting, as BroadbandCensus.com continues to urge disclosure and – through our mapping from publicly-available sources – create the best possible database of broadband speeds, prices, availability, reliability and competition.

The news of the NTIA’s interest in the Form 477 is indeed heartening. Much remains to be seen about how the data in the Form 477 eventually makes its way into the public domain.

But one key point must be borne in mind: the Form 477 data is only available at the ZIP Code or Census Tract Level.

Data about broadband is necessary at the Census Block level, a much more granular degree of disclosure. It is at this level that the NTIA is seeking to build its collection of broadband data.

As BroadbandCensus.com has demonstrated in Columbia, South Carolina, with our Richland County beta project, we aim to continue our efforts to disclose the information about the Broadband SPARC at this key Census Block level.

If you’d like to get more involved in our data-collection efforts at BroadbandCensus.com, feel free to e-mail us at data@broadbandcensus.com, or call us at 202-580-8196.

For those interested in further background reading, this recent series of blog posts I’ve written recounts some of the history of BroadbandCensus.com’s involvement in these questions, bringing us up to the current date.

Part 1: The debate begins with the Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in 2006.
Part 2: The founding of BroadbandCensus.com in the fall of 2007.
Part 3: The Broadband Census for America Conference in September 2008, and our work with the academic community to foster public and transparent broadband data-collection efforts.
Part 4: BroadbandCensus.com’s involvement with the National Broadband Plan in 2009.
The Final Part: The creation of the BroadbandBreakfast.com web site for news about broadband stimulus, wireless, and the national broadband plan, and the continuing use of the Creative Commons license for the content and datasets on BroadbandCensus.com.

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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