College of Engineering Unit:
Our team is working on a project designed to map broadband speeds and coverage in rural areas. By performing this mapping with reputable, reliable, and accurate methodologies, we hope to reveal the true state of network infrastructure in these regions. In the last few years, government funds were given to major internet service providers with the expectation that these companies would improve internet connection speeds and availability in rural communities and agricultural regions. Our project will help determine whether these funds have been used appropriately as the current testing methods are administered by the ISP’s themselves.
This project was able to incorporate past work completed by M-Labs to build out bandwidth testing infrastructure across the United States. By collecting additional metadata about a user, this project adds value to both consumers and FCC testing. If the FCC has better information about what consumers are paying for, relative to what they are receiving, then it becomes much easier to act against ISPs who aren't providing the service they promised. All the bandwidth data we collect is anonymized and publicly available. This helps keep all parties involved honest. A major focus of this project was keeping the test as accurate as possible, when compared to normal internet browsing conditions.