Our September map of the month revisits a topic that we explored in October of 2014 — how Utah’s broadband coverage is overrepresented in the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) Form 477 broadband maps. This is a policy issue and one that certainly impacts most if not all states.
Local and special service districts are an important user constituency for broadband services. In addition to broadband use at district headquarters, many are also dependent on broadband for field and infrastructure operations.
Happy New Year and welcome to the first 2016 installment of the Broadband Outreach Center’s Map of the Month series.
This month we’ve mashed up two state-by-state level datasets that, together, show relationships between access of high speed Internet and overall employment rates. The map color codes each state into one of nine classes, each of which considers broadband and employment rates together.
Since its inception in April 2012, over 40 maps have been published in the Utah Broadband Outreach Center‘s Map of the Month series. And, that’s in addition to the BOC’s mainstay maps like the residential broadband service map and locate.utah.gov, the commercial fiber availability map. For this end of the year addition to the MOTM series, we have reorganized BOC maps and map apps into an all-in-one online map gallery. The gallery presents overview graphics and text descriptions for each map. Continue reading
The Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED) is pleased to announce that locate.utah.gov, a project of the Utah Broadband Outreach Center and Utah Department of Technology Services (DTS), has earned a Digital Government Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Government.
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
One of the important objectives of the Utah Broadband Project (UBP) has been to definitively portray Utah’s Broadband landscape. Gone are the days, thankfully, when discussions around broadband policy couldn’t get off the ground because the coverage, speed and technologies facts could not be agreed upon. The NTIA broadband mapping grant to states, and the accompanying data model, standardized the data gathering process across the country. The Utah Broadband Interactive Map and later, it’s counterpart, the National Broadband Map (NBM), use the same provider-sourced, state-compiled data to greatly improve capabilities for viewing and analyzing the broadband landscape. Continue reading
This month’s installment in our Map of the Month series looks at the number of broadband providers capable of providing a ‘fixed’ broadband connection at a defined advertised speed threshold to residential consumers across the state.
The term ‘fixed’ broadband includes cable, DSL/copper, and fiber optic wireline-based technologies, as well as fixed wireless technologies. Basically, everything except for broadband provided directly to smart phones and other mobile devices qualifies as ‘fixed’ broadband.
All speeds are expressed in terms of maximum advertised download speed as reported to the Utah Broadband Project in Fall of 2013
Maps are available for three broadband speed levels:
- No. of Fixed Broadband Providers, Speed >= 25 Mbps (home office technical users)
- No. of Fixed Broadband Providers, Speed >= 10 Mbps (distance education/entertainment)
- No. of Fixed Broadband Providers, Speed >=3 Mbps (basic consumer service minimum)
The number of providers, especially at the higher speed tiers, is one well-recognized indication of the amount competition in the broadband services market.
The areas colored on the map represent the populated areas of Utah that broadband providers are advertising to.
- Areas shown in dark red on the maps have at least 4 qualifying providers at the map’s specified speed. These areas are greater in number at lower broadband speeds.
- Areas in yellow are served by a single provider, and are more likely to be found in rural areas where competition is less expected since the challenges of providing broadband are significantly more substantial.
More detail on provider service area, technologies and speeds for specific locations can be found by using the Project’s Interactive Map.
Utah received dedicated funding as part of the NTIA’s State Broadband Initiative to work in partnership with local government to build a statewide address point dataset map layer. In June of 2013, the Utah Automated Geographic Reference Center released the first version of the statewide address point dataset.
The address point dataset resource has been a great asset to broadband mapping efforts in Utah. Of course, address points increase the accuracy of locating addresses, but they also provide an excellent way to visualize the distribution of residences and businesses, especially in low population density areas where census blocks are often too large to be meaningful.
The Utah Broadband Project’s mapping team has been comparing, at community-level scales, the new address point map dataset with provider reported broadband coverage. To do this comparison, the project has produced map books highlighting unserved addresses. Provider’s work with the project to use these map books to refine, as needed, their broadband coverage data. The address points also make it easier for the providers to identify specific areas on the maps that may have received broadband service upgrades. To date this has been a very positive process that has resulted in substantial improvement to the coverage data.
So far, the main focus of the address point map review process has been working with wireline broadband providers. In the second half of 2013, the Project met with 7 rural broadband providers and there are plans to continue to meet with additional providers in preparation for the Spring 2014 submission.
The map above shows an example an address point review map book page that was printed by a provider and marked up with feedback. Click on the map to see a ‘before and after’ and to get a more detailed view. If you are interested in this process or maps at this scale for your community, please contact the broadband project at firstname.lastname@example.org.