Wednesday, January 27, 2016

8th Round of Field Testing Completed

Last Friday, which was the final day of testing for this round, one of our testers celebrated with an ice cream and some trace route tests. Congratulations to the staff at CSU Chico and CSU Northridge for completing this round in a timely fashion despite the inclement weather.

Here are some more photos from this round:








Thursday, January 21, 2016

More On Video Streaming: FreeBee, Sponsored Data, Etc.

Well, it turns out T-Mobile isn't the only provider offering data-charge-exempt streaming video for select content providers. Verizon and AT&T offer services where content providers pay for the data charges rather than the end user. Verizon's service is called "FreeBee Data," and AT&T's is creatively called "AT&T Sponsored Data." Sprint has yet to offer a similar service on its own network, but they do offer data-free music streaming for both Virgin and Boost MVNOs. So, with that, here are preliminary (refer to previous T-Mobile "Binge On, Binge Off" blog for why this is preliminary) estimated streaming video coverage maps for the other 3 major providers in California.

Verizon Wireless

 AT&T Mobility

Sprint



Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Binge On, Binge Off



T-Mobile's Binge On campaign offers customers the ability to stream certain video providers without incurring data charges. We wanted to see where customers might be likely to receive HD quality video with Binge On. Preliminary results suggest that HD quality on T-Mobile is much more likely in California's cities than anywhere else. Stay tuned for more in this area as we finalize our analysis.

More on How We Did This
Using the spring 2015 field test data, we've started to dig into video streaming quality for the four major providers. We created four categories, High Definition (HD), Standard Definition (SD), Low Definition (LD), and No Service (NS). The image above was created by designating each test location with a video quality category and then running a geo-spatial interpolation. The data were validated using a technique called "Cohen’s Kappa," which compares measured values with values predicted by the model.

The areas without color are either areas outside the provider's coverage, or are un-populated.

Definitions:
  • HD video (720p)  >= 2.5 Mbps downstream with >90% of measurements being > 2.5 Mbps
  • SD video (360p) >= .7 Mbps < 2.5 Mbps downstream with > 90% of measurements within that range
  • LD video (unreliable) < .7 Mbps
  • NS (no service) - no connection

Friday, January 8, 2016

Broadband Adoption Correlated With Income. Surprised?

Recently, several articles have featured studies on mobile broadband adoption and why more people aren't subscribing to wireline broadband. I thought it would be interesting look a little at these studies and revisit the CPUC's own study on wireline broadband adoption.

Telephone Landlines Are Disappearing
  • In December, the Centers for Disease Control found that as many as 47% of American adults lived in homes with only mobile phones for telephone service (no traditional telephone line).
  • More than 2/3 of adults aged 25–29 (71.3%) and aged 30-34 (67.8%) lived in households with only wireless telephones.
  • The percentage of adults living with only wireless telephones decreased as age increased beyond 35 years: 56.6% for those 35–44; 40.8% for those 45–64; and 19.3% for those 65 and over.
Broadband Not Relevant To Low Income Americans?
  • The Benton Foundation’s blog has a post by three researchers that suggests one of the key barriers often mentioned in broadband adoption, “relevance,” may mask other fundamental issues such as price and ability to pay. The researchers suggest in response to broadband adoption surveys that show people “not interested in getting online,” adding follow-up questions that focus on cost and digital literacy.
Income and Broadband Adoption
  • The CPUC's California Broadband Report based on June 2011 wireline subscription data looked at seven variables to see if there might be any correlation with wireline adoption rates. The table below summarizes relationships between the wireline adoption rates of California census tracts and a series of demographic variables.
  •  This list is not intended to be exhaustive, but rather includes variables with some of the highest explanatory power, such as median household income and educational attainment indicators, along with variables that would be expected to hold a high degree of explanatory power, but in fact do not, such as density.

 It is necessary to note that these variables are highly correlated not only with adoption rates but also to one another. This limits the ability to accurately determine the contribution of each individual variable to overall changes in adoption rates within a statistical model that includes more than one explanatory variable. Multivariate models can improve overall explanatory power, but interpreting the results becomes increasingly complex.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

CalSPEED results used in latest FCC Wireless Competition Report

On December 23, 2015, the FCC released their Eighteenth Wireless Competition Report (DA 15-1487), and in it they use results from our CalSPEED tests and compare them with Ookla, RootMetrics, and the FCC's own speed test app results.

Based on the CalSPEED data, latency continues to improve. Verizon Wireless and Sprint have seen dramatic improvements in their latency over the last several reporting periods, and are closing in on AT&T for the lowest latency measurements. While T-Mobile has the highest mean latency, they have also demonstrated dramatic improvements during the last several test periods.


Friday, December 18, 2015

Fall/Winter Testing Over 1/3 Complete

In the two weeks we've been testing, over 1/3 of the locations have been covered. Due to the late start, our team prioritized snow-affected areas with the thought that it might be harder to test there after we resume in January. Here are a few photos:




Thursday, December 17, 2015

Fall/Winter Testing finishing 2nd Week

We are finishing up the second week of mobile testing before winter break. This time around, we have upgraded the smartphone to the Samsung Galaxy S6 from the S4. The tablets are still the same as for Spring 2015 testing. It's still too early to draw conclusions about any of the providers, so in the meantime, we are working on two new areas of analysis: video streaming and conferencing capability of each provider's network, and backhaul. For the latter, we are analyzing traceroute test results from the Spring 2015 test and will be comparing them with those from this round.