BroadbandNow Is Releasing A New Open Data Set for Microsoft and ODI’s Education Open Data Challenge

Today, BroadbandNow is proud to announce the upcoming release of our latest and most expansive open data set looking into the state of broadband availability in the United States. Painting a clearer picture of the digital divide that exists in every state was and remains central to our founding mission, and we are proud to present this data in accordance with that vision. 

This data is being released in partnership with Microsoft and the Open Data Institute’s Education Open Data Challenge, which seeks to better understand the relationship of broadband penetration and education in the U.S. We are tremendously excited by the potential of this challenge, and we look forward to the discoveries and insights to be gained. 

BroadbandNow, Microsoft and the ODI are encouraging teams that wish to participate in the challenge to help generate innovative solutions to close the digital divide in K-12 education (go here to learn more). The winning team will be invited to elect a non-profit organization of their choice to receive a £50,000 award, with the runners-up electing non-profit organizations of their choice to receive £30,000 and £20,000 awards. The challenge is open to teams and individuals based globally. 

Our dataset will be available on our Github page on December 10th

“We are thrilled to participate in providing data for the Open Data Challenge and look forward to discoveries made by the participants,” said John Busby, Managing Director of BroadbandNow. ”Access to affordable broadband internet is crucial to education and digital equity.”

Participating teams will be tasked with identifying gaps in existing digital infrastructure that affect the delivery of education services online. Another goal is to identify potential impacts on learning outcomes, and suggest innovative and realistic solutions to address these gaps in a cost-efficient way. Some of the questions the challenge seeks to answer include:

  • How do students access remote learning, especially those who may not have easy access to digital infrastructure (e.g., technology and internet connectivity)?
  • What level of digital access to learning do students from disadvantaged groups have, relative to more advantaged groups?
  • What is the relationship between levels of digital skills and learning outcomes for different demographics?

About the BroadbandNow dataset 

This release utilizes our proprietary plans and pricing data – a collection of all providers in the United States, as well as BroadbandNow’s proprietary plans and pricing data of over 2000 terrestrial broadband providers alongside the FCC’s latest Form 477 data, which we’ve combined to create a holistic view of the broadband marketplace at the zip code level. 

The metrics you will find within include the number of providers at various speeds & technologies, aggregated speed test data from the past year, and the lowest price available for basic broadband, and will be available on our Github page on December 10th. 

Data Definitions

  • Zip: Zip Code
  • Population: Total Population of Zip Code (2010)
  • County: County
  • State: State
  • WiredCount: Number of Wired (Cable, Copper, DSL, Fiber) Providers present in a zip code.
  • FWcount: Number of Fixed Wireless Providers (WISPs) present in a zip code.
  • AllProviderCount: Number of Providers of any technology present in a zip code.
  • Wired25_3: Number of Wired (Cable, Copper, DSL, Fiber) Providers present in a zip code offering speeds of at least 25 Mbps Download / 3 Mbps Upload.
  • Wired100_3: Number of Wired (Cable, Copper, DSL, Fiber) Providers present in a zip code offering speeds of at least 100 Mbps Download / 3 Mbps Upload.
  • All25_3: Number of Providers (any technology) present in a zip code offering speeds of at least 25 Mbps Download / 3 Mbps Upload.
  • All100_3: Number of Providers (any technology) present in a zip code offering speeds of at least 100 Mbps Download / 3 Mbps Upload.
  • TestCount: Number of M-Lab Speed Tests Conducted in Zip, rolling 12 months.
  • AverageMbps: Average Download Speed via M-Lab Speed Tests, rolling 12 months.
  • FastestAverageMbps: Fastest Average (90th Percentile) Download Speed via M-Lab Speed Tests, rolling 12 months.
  • %Access to Terrestrial Broadband: Percent of the Zip’s Population that has Access to Terrestrial (Wired + Fixed Wireless) Broadband (25 Mbps Download / 3 Mbps Upload).
  • Lowest Priced Terrestrial Broadband Plan: The Lowest Regular Monthly Priced Terrestrial (Wired + Fixed Wireless) Residential Standalone-Internet Broadband (25 Mbps Download / 3 Mbps Upload) Plan available in the zip.

Additional Data Notes

Coverage Data with a suffix “_2020” is from the current June 2019 477 data, suffix “_2015” is from June 2015 477 data. Only residential providers and plans are considered here. Pricing data comes from publicly available plan data from more than 2,000 internet service providers in the third quarter of 2020. The regular monthly price (not temporary promotional pricing) is considered as the price unless the only known or advertised price for a plan is the promotional rate. 

All plans are internet-only. TV and/or Phone inclusive plans (Double, Triple Play, etc) are not considered. There are cases where a zip has providers indicating coverage but no qualifying plans. In these cases the Lowest Priced Terrestrial Broadband Plan is NULL. The coverage data comes from  latest FCC form 477 reporting, which is enhanced and supplemented by provider coverage update submissions directly to BroadbandNow. Speed test data comes from the Measurement Lab network diagnostic tool speed tests. “

A Note On Our QA Process

Random zips were spot checked for accuracy by looking through the census block logs and raw plan pricing data to verify accuracy. This data is as of October 2020. Any plan that has been active since July 2020 was considered at their current active price.

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