Thursday, November 15, 2012

Club 20 Building Toward Broadband for Colorado Conference - Broadband Service & Provider Availability

November 15th and I am spending the day at the Club 20 “Building Toward Broadband for Colorado” conference.  I will provide posts about much of the content.

The second session was presented by Brian Shepherd and Megan Chadwick of OIT.

The map was started through the ARRA grant process.  The map is compiled from data provided by the various service providers in the state.  Most of the offices efforts are put into collecting and validating data.  The office does collect speed test data and other performance measures.  These performance measures are used, in part, to validate service provider provided data.
Mr. Shepherd answered a question about what value this map data has by talking about the fact that broadband is an unregulated service.  The overall question of today is, “What is the role of government?”  Most of the conversation revolved around government regulating or subsidizing incumbent network owners.  Some of the conversation touched on state provided infrastructure (in particular, dig once policies and the Arizona digital highway law).

For planning, the reported data has a number of deficiencies:
  • It focuses on census blocks – these geographic blocks do not reflect real service availability.
  • It does not survey backbone or middle mile infrastructure.
  • There is no mechanism on the state’s site for reporting unserved areas.


  1. Paul,

    I would add that the map has one more deficiency and a rather large one:

    It is dependent on the accuracy of data disseminated by the Providers. Validation of the data is yet another challenge and requires either consumer validation and/or Provider validation. It is unlikely that much useful and quantitative data will come from the consumer side.

  2. Jeffrey is absolutely correct in calling out the map's data source deficiency - and I might be quick to add that this doesn't imply malfeasance on the part of the providers. Their requirement is to report advertised speed by census block. We have already touched on how census blocks don't reflect real service availability. The FCC's Report on Consumer Wireline Broadband Performance in the U.S. shows the "correlation" between reported speeds and actual performance.