Wednesday, September 17, 2014

FCC Now Open to Regulating Mobile Broadband

As more and more smart phones proliferate causing more and more to use mobile networks as their gateway to the Internet, should net neutrality would applied to cellular networks? As recently as last spring, the FCC thought no, but in response to a growing chorus of protest, the FCC is reexamining their position. The FCC is changing their perspective in response to comments from Internet companies like Google and cable companies like Comcast. With LTE networks in place, mobile networks are quickly becoming a substitute for internet users who are either on the go and would rather not allocate money for fixed broadband services. In this sort of environment, why should be mobile be exempt from regulation? This week the FCC held a roundtable discussion addressing net neutrality should apply to mobile broadband.

Friday, August 29, 2014

The Sixth Round of Mobile Testing will begin at the end of September

The sixth round of the CPUC's mobile testing program will start at the end of September and will continue over the next six weeks, finishing before Thanksgiving and winter snow. Like rounds four and five, the project will test 1,990 points up and down the state, rather than the 1,200 points which were tested in the first three rounds of testing. Like the previous rounds, the sixth round will test speed and latency for four providers; T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T. We will test each provider by both netbook and phone. It is good thing that Sprint dropped its bid to purchase T-Mobile, then we would only have three providers to test. The first five rounds have shown marked improvement by all the providers. Will the sixth round continue this trend? We shall see.

Monday, August 25, 2014

CPUC's New Way of Measuring Mobile Performance Shrinks Providers' Coverage on Tribal Lands from 80 percent to 20 percent

While previously the CPUC relied on mobile providers' coverage claims, which resulted in 80% of California's native population having served mobile broadband coverage, the new method based on our mobile speed testing program minus one standard deviation, to account for mobile broadband's inherent unreliability, now shows only 23 percent of the population covered by 6 Mbps down and 1.5 Mbps up. These results raise questions about whether tribes, who do not have wireline broadband service, can use mobile broadband as a substitute.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thank You California; CalSPEED users run 6,000 Tests

The tests from the CPUC's CalSPEED mobile app for testing broadband speeds keep rolling in. Including last week's results, users have run 6,000 tests on this android phones app and those test results are being used to feed the CalSPEED layer on the California Interactive Broadband Map. We have encouraged California Advanced Services Fund applicants to run the app to see if their community is served by mobile broadband. The app is free to download and is available at Google Play. We encourage California residents to download the app today and start testing in your community.

The points on the above map show exactly where CalSPEED has been tested. The legend below indicates the type of speed each colored dot represents.

Friday, July 25, 2014

CalSPEED wireline speed test now in beta

Below are some screen shots from the CalSPEED for wireline speed test. We hope to have a test version available for the public to try out by mid-September.

Test is running:

Test results displayed below:

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Should Net Neutrality Apply to Mobile Broadband?

While the FCC is trying to defend its net neutrality rules to preserve an open internet, mobile broadband has been left alone. There are no current net neutrality rules for cellular providers and none are proposed for the future. Comcast, the cable internet provider, has been protesting that fact. In their submission to the FCC regarding net neutrality, Comcast had this to say about mobile broadband and net neutrality,

'“Unlike the broad no-blocking and nondiscrimination rules applicable to fixed services, the [2010] no-blocking rule for mobile services applied only to websites and to applications that ‘compete with the provider’s voice or video telephony services,’ and there was no non-discrimination rule at all for mobile services,” Comcast wrote. “While such regulatory distinctions might have been defensible in 2010, the NPRM’s [Notice of Proposed Rulemaking's] recognition of the ‘significant changes since 2010 in the mobile marketplace’—including ‘how mobile providers manage their networks, the increased use of Wi-Fi, and the increased use of mobile devices and applications‘—supports at least a refreshed examination of that approach. There is no question that wireless is increasingly becoming a closer substitute for wireline broadband for many uses and for many Americans.”

In addition, the lobbying arm of major Internet companies like Google and Facebook, the Internet Association, is making the same argument as Comcast the regarding regulation of cellular networks. They also argue more and more people are accessing the Internet via their mobile phones.

Is wireless becoming a substitute for wireline and if so, why is wireless exempt from net neutrality rules?

Thursday, July 17, 2014

It is not all Good News for T-Mobile in the Fifth Round

Latency in milliseconds by Provider and Census Area
Here are the T-Mobile phone's average Latency numbers for the Fifth Round of Testing. Latency is measured in milliseconds and it measures delay. 200 milliseconds is considered the acceptable threshold for conversation and internet connectivity. As we see in the chart, T-Mobile has a real problem with their latency in rural areas and the locations included in this chart are in their coverage area.