Broadband Maps are not new, and with the increasing number of surveys by County Councils there will be many more. What is important is that the information on them is accessible and transparent. Far too often information is published that has been tough to get, and when through unofficial channels can often be inaccurate or out of date.
The CEO of Point Topic Oliver Johnson is set to talk at the ITU Telecom World event on Wednesday 26th October about the issue of broadband mapping and how the maps can ensure investment funds are best spent.
"In barely more than a decade, broadband has spread across the world with ever increasing speeds, and now boasts well over half a billion fixed subscribers. This is a powerful demonstration of its capabilities, however there is much more to be done in order to ensure everybody has access to high quality broadband services. Mapping is key to deliverng this,...
The USA allocated $350 million dollars to produce a detailed map of what speeds, suppliers and technologies are available where, with updates over the next five years. This has already contributed to the discussion as to where there are issues and has highlighted areas of success and relative failure. Importantly, it has done it in an accessible and transparent way."Point Topics CEO Oliver Johnson
Our own maps, feature multiple layers of data, including data provided in partnership with Point Topic. Additionally we overlay speedtest results where testers agree to share their results (only results from the last six months are displayed), thus by combining layers it is possible to gain an idea of what broadband services are like in an area you are looking to move to. It is not foolproof as it is nearly impossible to know whether someone is on a slow legacy package, or is getting poor speeds due to state of the local network, or peak time congestion, but when combined with other information can build a very useful picture.
While Ofcom has its own way of mapping broadband provider performance it is very important that independent systems exist to ensure that providers are kept honest. It is far too easy for providers to prioritise and optimise their networks for testing systems that are repetitive in how they measure data. The new ASA advertising guidelines coming into effect in April 2012 will increase pressure on providers to get the best results, the simplest method being to ensure that light to average usage users who do not trigger usage allowance limits or traffic management and also have good performing connections are ever measured.
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