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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Digital Arizona Broadband Test

General, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
9:16 am


This morning, I responded to an invitation from the Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council to participate in “The Official State of Arizona Internet Speed Test.”

The Digital Arizona Program:

… created an Internet Speed Test and Survey on the Digital Arizona web portal to measure the upload and download (connection) speeds at tens of thousands of locations (i.e. homes, offices, etc.) around the State. The combination of data from large quantities of speed tests along with answers from the related survey questions will be analyzed by the Digital Arizona team to determine potential areas and/or communities that may be poorly served. … This will assist us with our goal of facilitating access to better high-speed Internet service for ALL Arizonans, especially those residing in the rural areas of the State.

Here are my results:



Not bad service!  But, of course, I live in the city of Mesa, AZ, not in a rural area.  We’ll see what service we get during our family reunion in Pinetop-Lakeside, AZ, later in the summer.

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Source Doc: The Information Needs Of Communities

Social Media, Source Doc, Technology, Telecom
Author: Mark Dixon
Monday, June 13, 2011
5:08 pm

Federal Communications CommissionOn June 9th, the Federal Communications Commission issued  an interesting document, “The Information Needs of Communities – The Changing Media Landscape In A Broadband Age,” authored by Steven Waldman and The Working Group On Information Needs Of Communities.  (A two-page summary of the document is available here.)

The document introduction states:

In culmination of its work over the last year, the FCC Working Group on the Information Needs of Communities delivered a report on June 9, 2011 addressing the rapidly changing media landscape in a broadband age. In 2009, a bipartisan Knight Commission found that while the broadband age is enabling an information and communications renaissance, local communities in particular are being unevenly served with critical information about local issues.

Soon after the Knight Commission delivered its findings, the FCC initiated a staff-level working group to identify crosscurrent and trend, and make recommendations on how the information needs of communities can be met in a broadband world.

I enjoyed reading the statement by FCC Commissioner Michael J. Copps that accompanied the document’s release; here are a few excerpts:

Let’s begin with a basic truth: the future of our country’s media is an issue that goes to the heart of our democracy. A well-informed electorate is the premise and prerequisite of functioning self-government. To make this compact work, it is imperative that the FCC play a vital role in helping to ensure that all Americans have access to diverse and competing news and information that provide the grist for democracy’s churning mill.

The Digital Age holds amazing promise for expanding the scope of our democratic discourse. The Staff Report recognizes this and the present Commission has focused tremendous energy on both broadband deployment and adoption. But let’s recognize up-front that building a new town-square paved with broadband bricks and stacked with good news and information is not going to happen on auto-pilot.

An open Internet is not the entire solution for robust Twenty-first century journalism. It’s tougher than that, and I, for one, don’t believe we’ll get there absent some positive public policy solutions. We have never had successful dissemination of news and information in this country without some encouraging public policy guidance, going back to the earliest days of the young republic when Washington, Madison and Jefferson saw to it that newspaper were financially able to reach readers all across the fledgling young republic.

These issues mean a lot to me because I believe they mean a lot to our country. I have been outspoken about them–and sometimes blunt, I know. I intend to keep speaking out on them in the months and, if needed, the years ahead. This nation faces  stark and threatening challenges to the leadership that brought us and the world successfully through so many dire threats in the century just past. Now we confront fundamental new uncertainties about the revival of our economy, where new jobs will come from, how we will prosper in a hyper-competitive global arena, how to support the kind of education that our kids and grandkids will need to thrive–indeed to survive–in this difficult time, how to open the doors of opportunity to every American, no matter who they are, where they live, or the particular circumstances of their individual lives.We’ve got a lot to get on top of as a country and if we don’t have the facts, don’t have the information, and don’t have the news about what’s going on in the neighborhood and the town and the nation and world around us, our future will be vastly diminished. That’s why so much rides on the future of what we are talking about today.

I think these are valuable objectives, but it isn’t clear where this document will lead.  One author commented, “FCC Report on Media Offers Strong Diagnosis, Weak Prescriptions.”

I personally feel sensitive to this changing landscape.   I love the innovation of the USA Today and Wall Street Journal iPad apps, but I still enjoy reading the local paper-based newspaper over breakfast.  But my favorite local newspaper went out of business a couple of years ago, and the surviving newspaper is steadily shrinking in size.  This local newspaper’s online presence falls far short of the USA Today/WSJ readability model.  It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

To start with, I think I’ll transfer the whole 465-page report to my iPad and read it there.

PS.  I think the FCC has an ugly logo.  That’s all.

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Are We Addicted to Broadband Internet?

Humor, Social Media
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, April 29, 2011
3:33 pm

Jeremy Duncan seems to be addicted.  Are you?

I thing my family would rather have a full-scale electrical blackout that an Internet interruption.


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Arizona Broadband Map: I live in a DSL-free Zone!

Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, April 22, 2011
2:39 pm

Several years ago, I was a regular participant in the Arizona Telecommunications and Information Council (ATIC), and still receive interesting information from that group from time to time.  This week, I received a link to the “Arizona Broadband Map“. This map was produced as a result of a federal grant to the Arizona Government Information Technology Agency (GITA):

The U. S. Congress has appropriated $7.2 billion to develop broadband in the U. S. for unserved and underserved areas.

This funding includes grants for broadband infrastructure, computer centers, sustainable projects that promote broadband use; and grants to the states for broadband planning and for mapping broadband in their respective states to use in the creation a national broadband map.

The broadband mapping project will collect and verify the availability, speed and location of broadband across Arizona. This information will be publicly available; updated on a semi-annual basis through 2011. Citizens, local governments, and related research organizations will enjoy a direct benefit from access to this new and additional information.

The following image is a snapshot of the highest level of the interactive map for Arizona:

A really interesting bit of information appeared when I specified my home address and chose the DSL coverage map.  The pink shade in the following image shows areas with DSL broadband coverage.  The tan area shows my subdivision – an DSL-free island in a sea of coverage in Mesa, AZ.  

I knew that we couldn’t get DSL from Qwest.  I just didn’t know how localized the problem was, and still don’t know why it is this way. According to this map, my neighbors on the other side of the street can choose DSL, while I cannot.


It is nice to know that our home is part of the “underserved” broadband area targeted by this study.

Perhaps this is just a symptom of the Cox Communications monopolistic conspiracy! Or more probably, an oversight in Qwest planning.

Thanks, GITA, for providing this insight.


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How Does Your Broadband Connection Perform?

Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
10:43 am

Thanks to my friends from the Arizona Telecommunications & Information Council (ATIC) for pointing out a valuable broadband performance testing service provided by the Federal Communications Commission.

A bit of introduction to the testing system:

“The purpose of the Consumer Broadband Test (Beta) is to give consumers additional information about the quality of their broadband connections and to create awareness about the importance of broadband quality in accessing content and services over the internet. Additionally, the FCC may use data collected from the Consumer Broadband Test (Beta), along with submitted street address, to analyze broadband quality and availability on a geographic basis across the United States.”

My Desktop results:


My iPhone results, using the FCC  Mobile Broadband Test iPhone application:


Further information about this service provided by the FCC:

The Consumer Broadband Test, currently in beta, is the FCC’s first attempt at providing consumers real-time information about the quality of their broadband connections. Because measuring broadband speeds with software tools is not an exact science, we are providing two popular consumer broadband testing tools in this Beta version: Ookla and M-Lab. Both will enable consumers to test the quality of their broadband connection by transferring a small temporary file back and forth and measuring the results. Users will be randomly assigned to one of the two chosen testing tools: Ookla or Network Diagnostic Tool (NDT) running on the Measurement Lab (M-Lab) platform, or they can choose their preferred tool by using links on this page. Each test is likely to provide a different result, and the differences may be significant in some cases. While the tests will give consumers some information on relative speeds, the FCC does not endorse either one as being a definitive testing method. In the future, the FCC anticipates making additional broadband testing applications available for consumer use. The FCC does not endorse any specific testing application.

Try it out!  Does your broadband performance match what you think you should get?

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