Speed Test Profiles
Access to accurate broadband information is tricky. We have used the Federal Communication’s Commission (FCC) Form 477 in some of our data products and metrics (see Digital Divide Index). This is the only dataset available for the entire nation. We have also used data from the Census (see our vulnerability metric). While these data sources are useful, they do not paint a complete picture of the digital landscape. For this reason, we now are making available another metric: speed tests. While speed tests are not the perfect metric, they do show a different picture when it comes to quality of broadband access and availability. Data was obtained from the open access M-Lab dataset. M-Lab is a repository of speed tests completed throughout the country. For more information on M-Lab, please visit: Home - M-Lab (measurementlab.net).
We have created a speed test profile for every county in Indiana. The key indicator used is median download and upload speeds in megabits per second or Mbps. Medians are used versus averages since averages are susceptible to outliers. Median download and upload speeds were grouped into three groups: poor or red (less than 25/3 Mbps); good or yellow (between 25/3 and less than 100/20); and excellent or green (100/20 or higher). The profile also includes the total number of speeds, annual trends, and maximum and minimum speeds recorded.
What to look for? First, see if your county’s trend is improving. Arrows in between years make it easier to spot this trend. Second, see in which group your county falls by looking at the color per year. Did it start red and has made it to green? Lastly, note what the maximum and minimum speeds recorded in your county were. This highlights inequities in broadband availability. This metric along with other digital inclusion metrics should provide a broader picture of your county’s digital inclusion landscape.