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How Useful are Current US Broadband Data? Kenneth Flamm Technology, Innovation, and Global Security Program The Robert S. Strauss Center for International.

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Presentation on theme: "How Useful are Current US Broadband Data? Kenneth Flamm Technology, Innovation, and Global Security Program The Robert S. Strauss Center for International."— Presentation transcript:

1 How Useful are Current US Broadband Data? Kenneth Flamm Technology, Innovation, and Global Security Program The Robert S. Strauss Center for International Security and Law University of Texas at Austin "Broadband Data: What Do They Tell Us and Do We Have Enough?" Washington, D.C. June 28, 2007

2 Are FCC zip code data misleading? Break in statistics in 2005 # reported providers doubles from 12/04-6/05 Previous numbers not comparable “Zero provider” zip codes not previously provided Erroneous assumptions used by researchers to estimate “zero provider” areas Now known, no obvious fix to public released data Zip code areas used by FCC constantly changing Do not correspond to Census ZCTA standard High turnover, changing areas complicate intertemporal comparisons Mix of “point” and “geographic” zips, mappings change frequently Changing subset of both point and geo zips  41 1999 postal zips used in 6/05 dropped in 12/05  20 1999 postal zips not used in 6/05 show up in 12/05 Undocumented, proprietary mapping Zip codes often big areas Service in one corner does not mean available in other corner Typically about 3700 households per zip code Vs. zip + 4’s– about 10 households

3 FCC BB Availability #’s Clearly Overstated From Household POV Example, me: zip code 78731 FCC says 24 providers competing for my business 12/05 But no DSL available in my neighborhood Cable only choice  Advertised satellite unavailable Correct number on my block was 1 Example, Kentucky: FCC data show 96% of pop in zip codes w/BB as of 12/04 Detailed Connect Kentucky survey shows 77% of households have BB availability Example, fooling with FCC data: GAO (had access to non-public data) took out satellite-only, business only, DSL > 2.5 miles from CO, double-counted cable systems Median US provider number per zip code fell from 8 to 2, % pop with no providers at all went from 1% to 9% Example, Vermont FCC says all zip codes in Vermont had broadband in 2005 Interviewees in September 2006 NY Times article say otherwise Bottom line: FCC providers per zip probably best viewed as ordinal indicator of availability within zip More providers  higher probability that individual household can get service Less providers  lower probability that can get service No providers  Pretty darned tough to get service But not impossible, if can see southern horizon and willing to spend time and money on satellite link

4 Other USG agencies also not particularly helpful BLS uses obfuscating categories in price data collected for Internet services PPI Dialup and DSL access (!) lumped into one category Leased lines and DSL in a second category Cable and all other forms of Internet access lumped into third category Not very useful if interested in understanding what is going on in broadband Fixed weight price indexes also not very useful in rapidly changing industry Census/Commerce discontinued the one real scientific survey that measured Internet access modes and prices years ago The Internet is growing less important? Private consulting surveys have undocumented methodologies And are, well…private! Public Pew national survey extremely valuable, but very small sample size, can’t answer geographic/regional questions Also a series of one-off surveys, not an instrument designed to maintain regular and consistent data over time

5 FCC “Level 0 Disconnectedness” Hard core disconnectedness by state Absolutely no providers of BB service in FCC stats 183,000 people,.065% of US pop in 6/05.033% US pop in 12/05 Most Level 0 disconnected states: Kentucky (>1% in 6/05) Followed by West Virginia, Dakotas, Montana Puerto Rico and Vermont among least Level 0 disconnected states Should give us pause! % pop disconnected generally declines from 6/05 to 12/05, but some exceptions: Minnesota, Illinois, Virginia, Washington, Indiana Very small problem Less than.1% pop for US overall No state > 1% pop in 12/05

6 FCC “Level 1 Disconnectedness” < 4 bb providers in FCC stats Significant probability that substantial # households do not have access to bb Very different picture Puerto Rico now leads for June 2005, almost 2/3 of pop (falls to 22% in Dec 2005) Right behind, Dakotas, West Virginia, Montana Vermont now well above national average in disconnectedness Share of pop in “Level 1” generally declines over 6-12/2005 Some exceptions: Georgia, Illinois, Washington, New York, Michigan, Maryland, Massachusetts, Delaware, Arizona, California, Connecticut, New Jersey….but increases generally very small In Illinois, Delaware, Arizona, >1% pop now more disconnected Level 1 Disconnected pop coincidentally quite close to estimates of pop w/o broadband Nationally, GAO says 9% 12/04 vs. 7% Level 1 for 6/05 ConnectKentucky says 23% lack access to bb spring 05, vs 19% in Level1 disconnected zips in 6/05 Conservative rule of thumb? Not such a tiny problem: In 28 US states (including PR), Level 1 > 5% in 12/05 12 states > 10% 4 states (PR, Dakotas, WV) > 20%

7 Questions Why not add zip + 4 to existing system? Records already maintained in this format by all major service providers If using zips - 4, why not use ZCTA standard used by all other USG statistical agencies, enable use of other standard data collected by USG agencies? Why not break into wired (cable, DSL, fiber, T-1, ISDN, etc.) vs. wireless (wi-fi, satellite, etc.) classification? Hard to understand how truly proprietary info revealed Why not break into speed bins? E.g.,.2-1, 1-11, 12-54, 55-110, 111-300, 301-1K,1K-10K, 10K- 100K, 100K+ mbps At least collect on this basis, present in aggregate form Nominal (peak speed) OK as long as consistent Up vs. down

8 Backup

9 “Level 0” Disconnectedness

10 “Level 1” Disconnectedness


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