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Redefining the Colorado Broadband Map: Part II

posted Aug 27, 2014, 1:57 PM by Megan Chadwick Gernert - OIT   [ updated Aug 27, 2014, 1:58 PM ]

OIT is continuing to define the new broadband data development process. The broadband service database will proceed as a means for Coloradans to identify where broadband service is inadequate or nonexistent. It will allow policy makers to discern where policies or, potentially funding, should be focused within the state to improve broadband service. Accordingly, the database should be as accurate as possible, but also indicate the reliability of the data and where the data should be improved to assist with decision making. 

The Colorado broadband data is not a static map. It is a dynamic database with multiple layers. These layers include:

  • Community anchor institution locations and broadband service
  • Broadband service across the state expressed as available speeds
  • Confidence in data
  • Results of crowd sourced information about broadband availability, specifically speed tests

As in the past, the data will still be displayed on a public facing map to give an overall perspective on broadband in the state, but more detailed information from the database may be shared with Local Technology Planning Teams and other broadband stakeholders, particularly in consultation with OIT.

Community Anchor Institutions (CAIs)

OIT will continue to refine its database of CAIs to produce an accurate comprehensive database of the locations of these facilities as well as information about the broadband service available to them. We will improve the database locationally through feedback from county GIS departments, where present and LTPTs.

OIT will compare county GIS data regarding CAI locations to OIT’s data. Locations missing from OIT’s database will be entered into the database. Differences between OIT’s and the County’s data will be reported back to the County and reconciled with them. LTPTs will be asked to review OIT’s CAI data and report errors or omissions in the locations of the CAIs. In addition, the LTPTs can assist in reaching out to the CAIs to collect broadband information.  In addition, wherever possible organizational networks that can connect OIT with multiple CAIs will be leveraged (e.g., Colorado Telehealth Network for health care facilities) to collect this information or assist with outreach to individual institutions.

Broadband Service Data

Broadband providers will continue to be the first source of information about this service. The primary information will be speed of service that they provide. The information requested of broadband service providers will allow for the maximum fidelity in the data with minimum interpretation by OIT personnel. If data of lower precision or fidelity is given to OIT, OIT staff will have to make judgements about the service available based on the knowledge available to the personnel. The preferred information requested from wireline broadband providers in order of preference will be:

  • Address points with subscription speed and speed test
  • Address points with subscription information
  • # subscriptions at subscription speeds by geographic unit
  • Maximum speed in geographic unit
  • Maximum speed in corresponding census block

The preferred information from fixed wireless broadband providers will be:

  • Towers w/propagation model results
  • Towers and radio information
  • Addresses of subscribers
  • Delineation of service coverage

OIT has received comments that the NTIA’s requirement that service be available within five days of providing data on service coverage is too restrictive. We are considering alternative definitions for available broadband. For example, if a broadband service provider has started construction on the infrastructure or has acquired land or rights to property for such infrastructure, the area corresponding to the location of this infrastructure may be represented with broadband service.

Broadband service data will be referenced to geographic areas defined by the Public Land Survey System. That is, geographic units will be attributed with the speed available within that unit, based on the information provided. The units will be divided (e.g., sections into quarter sections, quarter sections into quarter quarter sections) based whether the presence of broadband service cover a portion of the unit or if there is variation in the development of the unit based on OIT’s address point data. For example, if a section appears developed only in one part of the section, it will be further divided into quarter sections to provide more spatial specificity in the representation of broadband service.

Local Verification

OIT will work closely with LTPTs, regional planning efforts or other local stakeholders to verify the broadband coverage. OIT will conduct intensive workshops to review the service representation in these areas. OIT is requesting feedback from local stakeholders that identifies where the OIT data is incorrect. Specifically, the feedback should take the form of the address where attempts have been made to obtain service and the response from each of the providers that should be servicing that address based on OIT’s data. With this specific feedback, the coverage representation will be adjusted according to the local experience.

Data Confidence

OIT will assign a confidence level to each geographic unit represented in the broadband service data. This will allow OIT and other users of the data to identify where the data is less accurate or reliable and therefore needs refinement.

The initial confidence in the data will be based on the source data from each broadband provider. The most accurate or precise data will receive the highest confidence level. Confidence may be reduced with:

  • no speed tests matching the reported speed from the broadband provider out of a significant number of tests
  • local experience inconsistent with provider reported speeds

Conversely, confidence may be incrementally increased with:

  • one or more speed tests confirming provider reported speed
  • local experience confirming provider reported speed

Speed Tests

OIT will provide detailed speed test locations and results to LTPTs, but our public facing web map will aggregate the speed tests and their results providing high level information about where test exist and their general results. We will work with LTPTs and other stakeholders to increase speed tests in areas where the broadband service data is lower in confidence and where there are gaps in speed tests.