Californians' ground truth begins to paint a better broadband availability picture

15 January 2014 by Steve Blum
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Crowdsourced data has been added to the California Public Utilities Commission’s broadband availability map, along with updated information submitted by service providers and developed by the CPUC’s own mobile field testing program.

The new map takes a long step toward bridging the gap between the advertising claims that carriers make – which is also the basis for what they report to the CPUC – and what consumers can actually buy. The public feedback information – “layers” in mapping jargon – shows locations from where people have filed personal reports about the service they’re getting. If you click on the location, you can see the results of the download and upload speed tests they’ve submitted, if any, and which service provider they used.

You can submit your own broadband speed tests and service provider information in a couple different ways. If you use the map’s locater tool (it’s the little house icon) to find your address, you can then click on a link that says “Send Feedback” and it’ll walk you through the report. If you don’t have broadband access at home, though, it’s a little tougher, so the CPUC also has a form you can fill out and send in – either electronically or via snail mail. Either way, the CPUC will process your info and add it to the map within a few weeks.

Mobile field testing by CPUC staff continues, and the newest data is on the map too. You can download and use the same CalSpeed app on an Android device to add your own tests to the accumulated data.

If you’re happy with what you have, great. But if you want better broadband service, you can now do something to help make that happen.