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Broadband Data

Ten Years After the Beginning of Broadband Data Collection Efforts, M-Lab Gathers to Celebrate



WASHINGTON, August 8, 2018 – Experts in broadband data analysis on Tuesday criticized internet service providers for overstating coverage in federal broadband data collection efforts, and for resisting cooperation that could increase network security.

At an event commemorating the 10th anniversary of Measurement Lab, or “M-Lab,” held at the New America Foundation, experts spoke about the millions of broadband speed tests collected through the open source Network Diagnostic Tool.

M-Lab, a collaborative project of researchers, industry specialists, and public-interest partners, including Google, provides a global measurement platform for broadband data. The test can be run through a one-click box on Google. M-Lab boasted as being “the largest open internet performance dataset on the planet”, providing all of the data open source to the public for use, and creating visualizations and analysis of the data sets., an early data open source broadband data collection service (and a sister company to, launched its version of the NDT speed test in February 2018.

Balancing broadband data collection efforts and user privacy

Vint Cerf, recognized as one of the “fathers of the internet,” acknowledged the importance of balancing data collection methods with user privacy.

“I would like to find a way to more naturally capture the data. Right now, it has to be voluntary,” Cerf said.  He advocated for a way to collect extensive data “so that people’s privacy could be satisfactory and protected,” yet valuable data surrounding broadband access speeds could be more readily available in a quantified manner.

Regarding the role of ISPs in the internet, such as Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast, Cerf said that ISP leading providers are large investors, but poor at working with those they are serving.

“Regardless of your experience in ISPs, you have to admit that they are investing a boatload of money in infrastructure,” he said. “I think, however, that the notion of customer service is kind of lost on many of them.”

Could broadband cooperation help combat cyber security threats?

Cybersecurity has become increasingly important as fears of Russian cyberattacks and interference moving towards the 2018 midterm elections. Cerf advocated for greater cooperation between the larger ISPs on cybersecurity issues regarding networks.

“It is not as secure a system as we would like to think. We need more cooperation among the parties providing the underlying infrastructure,” he said, pushing for ISPs to work together to make measures to increase internet security and protect against attacks.

Robert Ballance, an expert on broadband mapping, developed a new tool called the I3 Connectivity Explorer. While not yet available to the public, it is an effort to visualize and display broadband data in a more comprehensive way than current government efforts, such as the National Broadband Map.

The National Broadband Map overstates broadband availability and broadband speeds

Ballance criticized the National Broadband Map and other efforts by the government to collect and utilize broadband availability data.

“The data is notorious – it overstates it case,” Ballance said, advocating for Gigabit internet rather than the minimum stated by the government. “They’re overstating the case for a speed that’s too slow.”

The new tool adds in census data on top of FCC data and other data sets. Ballance said he is still looking for better ways to visualize the data.

“The providers like to overstate coverage,” he said. A lot of the providers are reporting “where they either provide service or they could provide service without an undue expense,” Ballance said, which results in the problem of overstated coverage.

When questioned about the disconnect between political conversation and what data to use to back policies, Ballance criticized politicians for lacking the desire to push for providing the necessary data.

“It’s feedback loop. There’s a political reason we don’t have that good data, which is that people involved in those arguments don’t really want to provide it,” Ballance said.

(Photo of Vint Cert from May 2016 by Nordiske Mediedagerused with permission.)


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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