As the 2015 Utah State Legislative Session begins, legislators may have questions about the telecommunications industry and broadband infrastructure. The State of Utah has 75 house districts and 29 senate districts, and the Utah Broadband Project’s interactive map is a great resource to help both legislators and constituents understand broadband availability in their districts.
More than ever, technology is transforming our economy and daily lives. Broadband is now referred to as the infrastructure of the twenty-first century, and is a key driver of economic growth and the quality of life for each citizen. A recent article by the Brooking Metro Policy Program highlighted how local policies and best practices play a clear role and the greatest opportunity for innovative thinking. Continue reading
The Utah Broadband Project contracted with Isotrope, LLC to perform a mobile broadband drive test along over 6,000 miles of Utah’s highways and major roads. This dataset was used for comparison purposes to verify coverage areas and speed data submitted to the Project,the NTIA and FCC. The dataset is also useful as it provides insight,, albeit at the time of collection only, in to typical network performance that consumers experience.
Since the speed test platform collected observations every second (or every 15 seconds in the case of the 2013 4G/LTE-specific tests) for each provider, the raw dataset is quite large, with millions of data points. The dataset was difficult to analyze, visualize, and compare because of the sheer number and the density of observation points.
In an effort to create a summary product from the raw data files, a unique approach was taken that aggregates observations to road segments of a near uniform size (0.5 miles). Continue reading
The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has released several speed test applications in an effort to gather anonymous data, from the desktops and smartphones of thousands of volunteers, that can be used to assess broadband performance nationwide. The speed test data acquired is available through the National Broadband Map API Services for developers.
The maps in this blog post (below) display the median download speeds by county that were collected by the FCC as of December 2013. The median download speeds by county are grouped into the following categories: residential home, mobile, schools/libraries and business. The number of tests conducted are also indicated in parentheses for each county.
Over the past few years the Utah Broadband Project has explored the use of speed test data and even provided access to a consumer speed test function on this website. The crowd-sourced speed data was a useful ingredient for the Project’s review of provider submitted data for issues and omissions. However, because the available speed test datasets do not differentiate between land-line technology types, specific providers, and because there are many potentially unknown performance variables associated with each test (like speed plans), the overall speed test data results are quite coarse and are only marginally useful as standalone data products. Here, as promised above, is a snapshot of speed test data aggregated by county to illustrate these points.
The NBM API developer service provides many broadband statistics to the public and is a collaborative effort between the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) and the FCC.
The United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Utilities Service (RUS) will be hosting their final webinar on February 3, 2015 about the Community Connect Grant Program, which helps to enhance telecommunications and broadcast services in rural areas of the United States. Continue reading
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recently released an updated Order on its E-Rate program, which helps schools and libraries obtain high-speed Internet access. This new Order modifies the definition of rural, so that a school or library located in an area with a population of less that 25,000 will be considered rural to ensure E-Rate funding in those much needed areas. This modification to the Order came after petitions for reconsideration and supporting comments were submitting by the Utah Education Network, the Utah Rural Telecom Association and the Governor’s Office of Economic Development. Continue reading
The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) released an Order to update its rules for the Connect America Fund, requiring companies receiving Connect America funding to serve consumers with upload speeds of at least 10 Mbps and download speeds of at least 1 Mbps. This is an increase reflecting marketplace and technological changes that have occurred since the FCC set its previous requirement of 4 Mbps download/1 Mbps upload speeds in 2011. Continue reading