Key Points and Executive Summary

  • America’s broadband network is as vital to our nation’s infrastructure as our airways,
    railways, highways, and the electric grid, specifically impacting all American citizens’
    prosperity and security. Significant public funds have been appropriated to enhance
    equitable broadband access. Timely and accurate measurements and analysis of
    broadband services’ actual quality can ensure these funds achieve their goals.
  • Present broadband performance measurement, however, is based on infrequently
    collected data that is often inaccurate or incomplete. Further this data may come from
    biased sources, both intentional and systemic. Indeed, there are currently no consistent
    standards for broadband performance data’s definition, collection, and presentation. The
    present environment is incapable of an accurate and unbiased broadband performance
  • Collection and analysis of pervasive, accurate, statistically valid, and anonymized data
    stored in federated databases addresses these shortcomings. These data and their
    corresponding analysis are key to sound broadband policy decisions, thereby enabling
    broadband networks to serve all American stakeholders’ interests.
  • Systems can be deployed today that meet these requirements. Much data is already
    available and, in many cases, also already collected by Internet Service Providers (ISPs),
    carriers, and others in their ongoing network management. With appropriate policies
    standardizing collection interfaces, cost effective systems can be deployed that will vastly
    improve broadband networks’ oversight.
  • Four federal policy initiatives can accelerate the benefits of pervasive, continuous,
    accurate, and anonymized broadband data collection and analysis using federated
    1. Enact appropriate regulations that ensure standardized Application Programing
      Interfaces (APIs), data definitions, and procedures for the collection and exchange
      of broadband performance information. These API’s enable the analysis and
      presentation federated databases’ data.
    2. Allocate up to 1% of federal funds already appropriated for broadband
      infrastructure to support the development and deployment of broadband data
      analysis and presentation systems based on these federated databases.
    3. As a condition for receiving federal broadband funding require all entities that
      receive subsidies to provide data using the APIs to the federated databases.
    4. Encourage timely financial support from entities such as the National Science
      Foundation (NSF) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
      to fund research and development of the most efficient and cost-effective
      methods for collecting, analyzing, and presenting salient broadband data.