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Broadband Affordability Tracker

Open Speedtest Data Notebook and Island Datasets

Broadband Affordability Tracker

Access the data here (Google Sheet)

The PBDE Broadband Affordability Tracker attempts to track the pricing of residential internet service packages from all known providers in the Pacific territories, plus a number of reference providers from Hawaii and the mainland United States. We will continue to maintain this dataset throughout the coming years of federal infrastructure funding for broadband, as we would expect to see improvements over time in the affordability of these prices. For readers outside of the Pacific territories, it might be worth reinforcing that high prices are matched in most cases by local standards of living that are not nearly at parity with the rest of the US.

The data in the tracker are an attempt to gather the most comparable possible data on internet service plans that would be eligible for federal assistance (specifically, the FCC Affordable Connectivity Program) for individuals and families in need. In order to help with comparability, we are tracking only standard, un-bundled, non-discounted plans that are advertised on providers’ websites. PBDE will make every effort to make these data as accurate as possible, but we encourage the public and providers to let us know if we have missed a plan or a price.

A Breakdown of the PBDE Regional Affordability Tracker

Location / Name of Provider: Some internet provider companies cover multiple territories or islands but may offer different types of internet connections, varying download and upload speeds, as well as different prices per location. We’ve made it easy to track the price per location by including both the provider name and the location of the broadband services offered. Some providers also offer more than one internet package. We typically pull the low and high end of the offers, so you may see the provider and location listed more than once.

Technology: Home internet can be delivered in several ways. The Regional Affordability Tracker compiles data that is offered in the internet provider’s online advertisements. In cases where the provider does not make that information readily available through their website, we attempt to contact the agencies directly to gain a better understanding of their broadband delivery methods. This portion of the tracker is still being researched and will continue to be updated as we gain more information. Here is a quick explanation of the types of connections listed in the tracker so far:

  • Copper: Also known as DSL, copper cabling is the oldest form of cabling and was developed over 100 years ago to connect the first telephones. DSL uses existing copper phone lines to transmit internet and tv signals electrically. Internet traveling through copper cables can lose strength over distance and requires boosters or repeaters that amplify the signal as it travels from pole to pole.
  • Coax: Coaxial cables also utilize copper cabling, but they use a different outer material that allows the signal to travel further without needing to be amplified as much along the way.
  • Fiber: Unlike copper and coax cabling which use electrical signals to transmit data, fiber optics uses light signals that travel through thin glass strands bundled together into a cable, allowing data to travel at the speed of light. Fiber optics cabling offers the fastest delivery of internet and can keep signal strength without the need of boosters or repeaters. Because fiber optics is newer than copper and coax cabling, it can cost more due to the need for added infrastructure for it to reach users.
  • Wireless: Wireless internet connection, also known as Wi-Fi, is a way to connect to the internet without using any physical cables. Instead, it uses radio waves to transmit data between devices and a wireless router. For wireless home internet, provider’s use cell phone towers to transmit radio signals to a router in your home. The router then sends out a wireless signal, which devices like smartphones, laptops, and tablets can pick up and use to access the internet. Wireless internet can allow homes access to internet in rural areas where there is no cabling infrastructure, but the strength of the signals will depend on how close your home is to a transmitting tower.

*A note about Satellite internet: Satellite internet uses communication satellites orbiting the Earth to provide internet access. Instead of using traditional cable or phone lines to transmit data, satellite internet works by sending and receiving signals to and from a satellite dish that’s installed on your property. While Satellite internet is tracked by the FCC, it’s not currently eligible for NTIA funding and therefore not included on our tracker.

Download: Internet download speed refers to how fast data can be transmitted from the internet to your device, such as streaming a video or downloading a file. The speed is measured in megabits per second (Mbps) and represents how quickly data can be received by your device.*

Upload: Internet upload speed, on the other hand, refers to how fast data can be transferred from your device to the internet, such as sending an email or uploading a file. The speed is also measured in Mbps and represents how quickly data can be sent from your device to the internet.*

*It’s important to note that internet speeds are not the same as internet data usage or data limits. Internet speeds refer to how fast data can be transferred, while data usage or limits refer to the amount of data that can be transferred within a certain time period, such as a month. The Affordability Tracker only reports on unlimited data usage offerings.

Cost Per Month: The Regional Broadband Affordability Tracker reports on the cost per month that the internet provider advertises, excluding any discounts or special promotions offered. The price listed per month is the reported cost for the offered download and upload speeds in the same column. U.S. Dollar per Mbps (Down): This price reflects the cost in U.S. dollars per downloaded Mbps and is calculated by dividing the monthly cost of internet access by the amount of download Mbps offered for that price. This can give us an accurate view of the cost variations across the regional area.

Open Speedtest Data Notebook and Island Datasets

Access the data here (GitHub)

Updates January 11, 2024

We have updated the datasets for the final two quarters of 2023 and created new interactive charts for internet upload and download speeds as well as latency.

Mobile data can be found on this separate page.

As usual, all data including the new charts are available on Github.

Updates July 10, 2023

Pacific Broadband and Digital Equity has this month expanded our dataset processing for the Ookla Open Datasets. We are now processing all data from all dates starting at the beginning of 2019, with the most recent dataset from just days ago in July 2023.

The datasets now isolate all islands of Hawai’i, and also include the Azore islands of the Atlantic Ocean as a comparative reference. The updated Python scripts could efficiently expanded to encompass other areas in the United States or anywhere in the world. Updated data for all regions and all time periods are available in the GitHub repo referenced at the top of this post.

Original Article

Our Open Speedtest Data Notebook is an attempt to make gathering and analyzing public speedtest data available from Ookla‘s Open Data Initiative easier and more convenient for territories and insular areas in the Pacific (and throughout the United States.

All internet speed test data comes with caveats, as it is difficult to measurers to control for the effects of equipment and activity within a user’s local network on actual provided internet speed (for starters–there are several other challenges for speed test sites to deal with). Still, aggregated internet speed test data can have value and be informative for policy makers and providers alike.

The Open Data Initiative is a release by Ookla of hundreds of millions of individual speed tests per year. While this is a tremendous resource, it can also be challenging to process and search at these scales! With our GitHub resource we have a script that can be used to isolate data from individual areas, as well as sample datasets we created using the tool for Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), American Samoa, Palau, FSM, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands (USVI).

The core of the GitHub repository is the data-processing notebook, designed to be run on the Jupyter Notebook web-based interactive computing platform. While users can simply clone the repository onto their own computers and get started with Jupyter and Python (Python 3+ ), we point out that the system is computationally expensive and will run best with 16GB of RAM or more. In order to process the example datasets, PBDE ran the notebook on the Google Cloud Computing Vertex AI workbench. Other cloud services should work similarly well for processing.

Please contact PBDE for help or if your team is interested in expanding the available datasets.