When the National Telecommunications and Information Agency released its interactive National Broadband Map last month, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski invited web developers to use the map’s open application programming interfaces to create new applications drawing on the map data. Just a month later, voice and Internet services provider Bandwidth.com has done just that, with their new site broadband.com.

The broadband.com map augments the NTIA map data with other information, including broadband speed test data from the Net Index database operated by Ookla as well as data from Internet service providers and the FCC.

“We are providing a set of tools that democratizes information previously unavailable to consumers,” said Joe Campbell, senior vice president for Bandwidth.com in an announcement of the company’s new map issued this week. “Telecom is overdue for such a transparent tool and business customers will be able to make a fully-informed buying decision.”

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Bandwidth.com offers Internet and VoIP services to small and medium size businesses through partnerships with “nine of the top 10 national ISPs,” according to the announcement—and certain features of the company’s new broadband.com map are skewed toward the SMB market. For example the map enables users to view DSL and Ethernet-over-copper coverage areas, both of which are popular small business offerings. But it does not provide the same functionality for consumer-oriented technologies such as fiber-to-the-home—not yet, at least. According to the site, the company plans to add residential services functionality in the future.

Other current capabilities of the Broadband.com map include the ability to:

  • Compare broadband speeds by city
  • See average prices for high-speed broadband service by address and summarized by city
  • Compare broadband penetration rates by city
  • See how ISPs are performing city-by-city on key metrics such as actual download speeds

In comparison, the NTIA’s National Broadband Map has certain capabilities that I did not find on the Broadband.com map, including the ability to view the number of anchor institutions in an area and the percentage of those institutions that have broadband at a certain speed.

Usage of the NTIA’s National Broadband Map—initially at least–has been quite heavy. But Telecompetitor readers and others found that it had inaccuracies.

We invite readers to compare the information they get from the new Broadband.com map with the NTIA’s map and to share with us which one is more accurate. It would be especially interesting to hear from those readers who found problems with the NTIA map.

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4 thoughts on “Broadband.com Hopes to Build On National Broadband Map Data

  1. Here is a transcript of an on-line chat I had with a Broadband.com rep when I looked at their web site.

    <quote>
    CSR:Questions on data service? We are around, send us a message.
    Me:your maps, at least for my zip code, are all wrong

    CSR: how so?
    Me:doesn't show any of the 350 miles of fiber to the home we installed in Mahaska County Iowa. Nor the fixed wireless towers we have across 4 towns. 3700 customers on FTTH at speeds of 15 Mbps or 400 wireless with 1Mbps symetrical

    CSR: We do not have any data from WISPs as we are currently not a wholesaler of those services

    Me:We submitted that to the FCC Connected Nation survey. So you only show data on services you resell?

    CSR: Not entirely. COs are generic data, but when it comes to lit buildings and pricing, we only have data points from our carriers

    Me:OK – the DSL service areas you show are also incorrect. Shows towns on the map with DSL for which we know there is no such service; shows towns without service for which we know they have service.

    1. Me:And who are your carriers? the Tier 1 carriers like Qwest, Verizon, Comcast, etc?

      CSR: We don't resale cable either; all of the Tier 1 providers as well as Covad, Paetec, XO, etc.

      Me: Ok . .the article http://www.readwriteweb.com/biz/2011/03/building-… is misleading then. I better refrain from sharing that URL with others, The article gives the impression you are trying to augment the National Broadband Map. Seems instead your are just trying to spin the story in your favor.

      CSR: This tool is not complete. This is v1.0. If you have data points to add please feel to contact Joe Merrill at jmerrill@bandwidth.com

      Me:Thank you. I will keep it under advisement.
      </quote>

      I found the whole experience dissapointing. We have identified multiple innacuracies to Connected Nation and the PUC about our state version of the national broadband map. I was hoping Broadband.com was correcting these with real-time data thus augmenting the value of the overall database.

    2. Me:And who are your carriers? the Tier 1 carriers like Qwest, Verizon, Comcast, etc?

      CSR: We don't resale cable either; all of the Tier 1 providers as well as Covad, Paetec, XO, etc.

      Me: Ok . .the article http://www.readwriteweb.com/biz/2011/03/building-… is misleading then. I better refrain from sharing that URL with others, The article gives the impression you are trying to augment the National Broadband Map. Seems instead your are just trying to spin the story in your favor.

      CSR: This tool is not complete. This is v1.0. If you have data points to add please feel to contact Joe Merrill at jmerrill@bandwidth.com

      Me:Thank you. I will keep it under advisement.
      </quote>

      I found the whole experience dissapointing. We have identified multiple innacuracies to Connected Nation and the PUC about our state version of the national broadband map. I was hoping Broadband.com was correcting these with real-time data thus augmenting the value of the overall database.

      1. Tony,
        It's best to think of broadband.com as the expedia.com of Business Internet search rather than a replacement for the National Broadband Map. It's a free service. End-users have the option to buy internet directly from Broadband.com or simply use the website to gather information to make a more informed Internet buying decision.

        Currently Broadband.com provides pricing for 14 national ISPs. We will add more business ISPs and introduce residential services such as DSL, cable, and Wimax in the coming weeks with national residential providers.

        In addition to augmenting ISPs and services, we are also improving the accuracy of the broadband map data.

        The improvements we are making will begin to address your concerns. However, as you know, hundreds of carriers operate in the US, we have a long way to go to cover every market, particularly rural markets and small ISPs.

        The broadband map is a big project. I hope you will help us improve the data, identify errors, and promote the map so we can cover more markets and ISPs. With participation from ISPs, concerned end-users like yourself, and other datasources such as The National Broadband Map project, broadband.com will be an awesome resource for finding and pricing Internet service.

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