Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Goobye data cards & netbooks, Hello tablets!

For six rounds of mobile field testing, we have tested both smartphones (Android) and data cards. The data cards were run through netbooks running Windows OS. In the beginning, performance was not radically different between the two, but the the declining use of netbooks and data cards, and the increasing use of tablets, we see stark differences now between the two access methods.

For the next round of testing, planned to start at the end of April, we will be replacing the data cards and netbooks with Android tablets, specifically, the Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 LTE, with 8" screen and 1200x800 resolution.

Ag-Tech Hackathon April 17-19

As part of our continuing outreach with regional and community stakeholders, we've been discussing using CalSPEED to test broadband in unpopulated agricultural areas. One related project is coming up next week at West Hills College, Coalinga: Apps for Ag.

The idea came out of discussions at the AgTech Roundtable. From the Apps for Ag website:

"The concept is simple: bring commercial agricultural producers (aka growers) together with software developers to collaboratively build solutions to real-world challenges. We hope there are some quick solutions that present themselves immediately and to which the answers are straight-forward. We also hope that these events lead to some long-term partnerships (aka startups) which can tackle the more difficult problems."

Friday, March 20, 2015

CalSPEED goes to Virginia

Virginia Tech's Center for Geospatial Informational Technology recently created its own mobile speed test app using the CalSPEED source code. DataCardinal (Cardinal is the state bird) will be used / marketed by the state to help citizens in Virginia determine and map the speed of their internet connection.

Friday, February 6, 2015

FCC recognizes CA Mobile Testing & CalSPEED

We were happy see mention of our mobile testing results and our CalSPEED comparison with Ookla and the FCC's speed test app in the FCC's 2015 Broadband Progress Report and Notice of Inquiry (FCC-15-10):

"There is also evidence in the record of “a new, and growing, digital divide for mobile broadband – between urban, rural and Tribal demographics.”395 A study of data collected by CalSPEED concludes that the bulk of California’s mobile networks are not ready to support VoIP and that mobile broadband service for rural and Tribal areas in California is “materially less robust” in terms of “coverage, throughput, reliability, streaming media capability and wireless technology” than in urban areas." p. 66

"CPUC has found that its methodology yields more realistic results than the methodologies that the FCC and Ookla currently use.”). p. 41 

We are proud of the work by all who contributed to this effort, including those at the Commission, California State University Chico, California State University Monterey Bay, and the NTIA. The NTIA's State Broadband Initiative funded both mobile testing projects, which has paved a way for states to validate mobile broadband coverage. Rest assured that the program is continuing beyond the period of the grant, which ended January 31.

Monday, February 2, 2015

How Will New FCC Broadband Standard Affect Mobile "Served" Coverage?

At the end of January, the FCC adopted their 2015 Broadband Progress Report, which called for changing the definition of "advanced services" to to 25 Mb/s down and 3 Mb/s up (collectively, "25/3"). The study estimates that over half of all rural Americans lack access to these higher speeds.

We estimate that roughly 7% of California households lack access to 25/3, which is in line with the FCC's estimate.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Yolo County's Draft Strategic Broadband Plan Released!

After much anticipation, Yolo County's draft plan is now available to the public.

Recommendations are made for each of the County's four cities and for the county itself. They include (see report for more specifics on each one):

  • Adopt General Plan policies that incorporate broadband as a public utility and create a policy framework to promote its deployment in public and private projects as appropriate
  • Continue to develop broadband infrastructure to reduce internal costs, expand capabilities and protect against future cost increases
  • Develop a GIS-based map that identifies each city's locations that should be interconnected including the each city’s current infrastructure
  • Install conduit with all public projects
  • Expand each city’s capability in negotiating agreements for private providers to utilize each city’s infrastructure for public benefit
  • Coordinate with other local public agencies as potential users of each city’s infrastructure
  • Coordinate with broadband providers on specific broadband infrastructure projects in communities described in the Critical Unserved and Underserved Communities in Yolo County’s Community Profile
There is also a compressed file now available for download.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mobile Testing Findings Presented to California Broadband Council

On Tuesday, November 18 in San Francisco, Ken Biba, CTO and Co-founder of Novarum, presented recent findings from the past five rounds of mobile field testing to the California Broadband Council. His six key themes were:

  • Mobile broadband continues to get much better VERY quickly (on average)
  • There is a wide variation in mobile broadband performance across California
  • Not all carriers are equal
  • Mobile broadband service is not just wireless access
  • Real and growing mobile digital divide
  • The bulk of California’s mobile network is still not yet VoIP ready
  • Measured service substantially less than advertised
Here's one of his graphs, showing estimated VoIP readiness: