Assessing Broadband Reliability: Measurement and Policy Challenges
Research Conference on Communication, Information and Internet Policy (TPRC), 2011
38 Pages Posted: 4 Jan 2012
Date Written: September 24, 2011
With broadband availability now approaching universal service in the United States, the focus on broadband metrics is shifting toward the assessment of broadband performance. The initial focus has been on the measurement and reporting of the speeds achieved by broadband services. As we develop more comprehensive and, hopefully, more meaningful frameworks for characterizing, measuring, and evaluating broadband performance, one obvious measure of merit will be reliability. In a survey, consumers identified concerns about reliability as second only to speed in importance. Moreover, as our collective reliance on broadband as critical socio-economic infrastructure increases, and as a growing range of services move into the Internet, it is reasonable to expect that demand for reliable broadband service will increase. At the same time, the growth of streaming and interactive rich multimedia, the convergence of fixed and mobile services, and the evolution of the Internet services industry pose new challenges for developing appropriate reliability metrics. While the measurement of broadband availability or speeds and the appropriate interpretation of measurement data are not simple tasks, evaluating reliability is inherently much more complex and difficult.
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