Measuring Broadband America – 2014

Background and Overview

This 2014 Measuring Broadband America Report on Fixed Broadband ("Report") contains the most recent data collected from fixed Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as part of the Federal Communication Commission's (FCC) Measuring Broadband America program. This program is an ongoing, rigorous, nationwide study of consumer broadband performance in the United States. We measure the network performance delivered to a representative sample set of the population and service tier demographics across the United States. The sample population is drawn from subscribers of ISPs serving over 80% of the residential marketplace, and consists of thousands of volunteers.

The initial Measuring Broadband America Report on Fixed Broadband was published in August 2011, and presented the first broad-scale study of directly measured consumer broadband performance throughout the United States. This effort was followed approximately one year later by a second Report, released in July 2012, a third Report released in February 2013, and now this Report. We intend to provide these reports going forward on an annual basis to serve as consistent benchmarks on the health of broadband Internet access services in the United States, and to better chart progress towards the FCC goal of continuing to evolve the speeds and quality of service at which broadband access is commonly available to the American public.

As explained in the accompanying Technical Appendix, each Report in this series is based on measurements taken during a single reference month that has been chosen to represent a typical usage period for the average consumer. The reference months for the first and second Reports were March 2011 and April 2012, respectively. The collection period for subsequent annual Reports was shifted to September1 to standardize on an annual baseline reporting month. The reference month for this Report is September 2013, twelve months after the previous testing period. We will attempt to maintain this as our reporting month for future Reports when practical.

The methodologies and assumptions underlying the measurements described in this Report are reviewed at meetings that are open to all interested parties, and a public record of these meetings is maintained by the FCC. The techniques used as part of this study to gather data, and the data generated thereby, have the specific aim of profiling broadband Internet access services. That is, they are aimed at highlighting averages and trends in service characteristics within the scope of control of individual service providers.2 The resulting view necessarily focuses only on the network properties being measured.

In this Report, we are pleased to again include results on satellite technology, based on test results collected from ViaSat/Exede, a major satellite services provider.3 In our February 2013 Report we highlighted significant changes in satellite performance resulting from the satellite industry launching a new generation of satellites, beginning in 2011 with ViaSat's launch of their first Ka4 band satellite, offering performance as much as 100 times5 superior to previous generations. We include comparisons between satellite and wireline technologies in this Report and look forward to expanding the number of participating satellite providers in future Reports.

This Report, like the Reports that preceded it, could not have been produced without the counsel of a broad array of individuals and entities, collectively and informally referred to as "the broadband collaborative," which includes the participating ISPs, equipment manufacturers, M-Lab,6 Level 3 Communications, and academics. Participation in this group is open and voluntary.

Read the full report at: Measuring Broadband America - 2014 | FCC.gov.

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