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Measuring Broadband Use and Adoption is the Next Frontier in Internet Data Collection

SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, August 9, 2011 – It’s very easy to take broadband for granted. People want to go online to look up answers on Wikipedia, to watch movies on Netflix, to hang out on Facebook, or to Skype cousins across the globe — or across town.

None of this can be done without broadband. Higher and higher speeds of internet connectivity are necessary to satisfy everyone’s demand to do all of these things at once.

That’s where the Partnership for a Connected Illinois comes into play.



SPRINGFIELD, Illinois, August 9, 2011 – It’s very easy to take broadband for granted. People want to go online to look up answers on Wikipedia, to watch movies on Netflix, to hang out on Facebook, or to Skype cousins across the globe — or across town.

None of this can be done without broadband. Higher and higher speeds of internet connectivity are necessary to satisfy everyone’s demand to do all of these things at once.

That’s where the Partnership for a Connected Illinois comes into play.

We are a resource and a key piece in the puzzle about how the broadband landscape in Illinois is changing for the better.

We work with broadband providers of all stripes – fiber, cable, copper and wireless – to help raise awareness of the fact that Better Broadband leads to Better Lives.

We work with State entities like Gov. Pat Quinn’s Broadband Deployment Council, and with local governments and “anchor institutions” that are crucial hubs in connecting up to internet spokes.

And we work with consumers. These include everyday residents of rural Illinois, of Chicago, and of everything in between. Equally important are the business customers. Powered by broadband in Illinois, these business customers need better broadband to stoke job creation and economic growth.

Getting a Handle on Broadband Needs and Demands

Our Broadband Illinois web site reflects our mission to collect and publish broadband data, to promote high-capacity infrastructure and access, and to maximize the impact and use of broadband.

Data and research provides the benchmark for measuring the health and growth of Illinois’ broadband networks. Under the U.S. Department of Commerce’s State Broadband Initiative, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois has been collecting and publishing broadband data. We make it easy for consumers to find out more about their broadband connectivity, and about the “anchor institutions,” or community broadband hubs, nearby.

And our Broadband Illinois web site has been publishing information about broadband providers’ service areas and offerings, together with the speeds at which they advertise those services.

We’ve had higher ambitions. The Partnership for a Connected Illinois is about to take a key step toward the next frontier in internet data collection.

That frontier is studying broadband use and adoption.

Figuring out where broadband providers offer service, and the speeds and quality of that service, are only the first stage. Now it’s time to rigorously evaluate what drives adoption, what powers higher-demand connection, and how broadband can create top-performing businesses, hospitals, schools, cities and county governments.

We know that broadband is a big piece of the puzzle. But quantifying how big it is, and understanding its dimensions and parameters, requires careful preparation.

That’s why I’m so pleased that John Horrigan, perhaps the nation’s premier expert in research on broadband adoption and demand, has agreed to advise us on the right way to study broadband use and adoption. For more than a decade, John conducted broadband adoption survey research for the Pew Internet & American Life Project. Additionally, he was responsible for conducting a comprehensive survey that was part of the Federal Communications Commission’s National Broadband Plan.

Wednesday Webinars, and Today’s Bidder’s Conference Webinar

Beginning three months ago, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois initiated a series of four Wednesday webinars.

These webinars were on the topics of The Illinois Broadband Map ((PDF)PDF), Developing Statewide Baseline Data for Research ((PDF)PDF), Community Anchor Institutions and Broadband ((PDF)PDF), and the our eTeams and Broadband Research ((PDF)PDF).

Through each of these webinars, we have systematically explained the operations of our Data and Research Team. We explained the data-collection processes that we undertook to collect, clean, process and submit data from Illinois providers to the National Broadband Map.

We’ve also laid out the need for, and invited feedback on, the survey research methodology for collecting statewide baseline data. We’ve also zeroed in on our Community Anchor Institution data-set, and the work we are doing, through eTeams, to partner with institutions and individuals who have deep roots in particular regions of the State.

All of this work has set the stage for the Request for Proposals, issued on July 15, 2011, by the Partnership for a Connected Illinois. (We’ve also received many questions on the RFP, and have replied to them on this page.

Applications for this RFP are due on Friday, August 26, 2011. We are encouraged by the interest and energy generated thus far by our RFP.

In order to address any questions or receive additional feedback on a level playing field, we’ve established a Bidder’s Conference Webinar today, on Tuesday, August 11, at 2 p.m. CT.

John Horrigan will be the lead participant in Bidder’s Conference Webinar today, at 2 p.m. CT, together with the staff of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois responsible for this statewide baseline inventory of broadband use and adoption. If you are interested, please register to attend.

Piecing Together Broadband Supply and Broadband Demand

In addition to the data-collection activities, our Wednesday Webinar series, and the RFP described above, the Partnership for a Connected Illinois is putting the finishing touches on an important new study, “Scoping Broadband Access in Illinois.”

This study examines the broadband data collected and processed by our data team, comparing it to multiple additional data sources, including speed tests provided to us by the FCC. PCI plan to release this study later in the week, and which we hope will be a valuable resource to partners and other organizations in Illinois, and throughout the county, who are interested in diving deeper into broadband data.

One of the most exciting pieces about the study, “Scoping Broadband Access in Illinois,” is its county-by-county comparisons of broadband speeds and coverage from multiple data sets.

And in the future, as PCI receives proposals responding to our RFP for baseline broadband demand, we expect to be able to refine the measures of broadband readiness — and to help counties and regions get the greatest impact from broadband investments.

After all, broadband should be taken for granted. Think of that the next time you get ready to Skype your cousin or post a status update on Facebook.

This Expert Opinion originally appeared on Broadband Illinois, at “On Broadband” is the column written by Drew Clark, Executive Director of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois.


Drew Clark is the Executive Director of the Partnership for a Connected Illinois, or, which is the designated entity under the State Broadband Data and Development grant program based in Springfield, Illinois. Through convening stakeholders, the creation of local eTeams, and other activities, has the mission to build a statewide effort to make the case that Better Broadband Leads to Better Lives. Additionally, Drew is the founder of and

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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Broadband Data

Small ISP Organizations Push FCC for Flexibility on Broadband Label Compliance

Advocates say strict compliance requirements may economically harm small providers.



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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