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Frequently Asked Questions
FAQ Categories
General     Speed Test     Feedback     Wi-Fi     Confidence Values
 
 
General
 
Q: Why are current broadband service areas being mapped in Oregon?

A: Broadband mapping provides a physical picture of where important broadband infrastructure is available to support high speed Internet access to end users. It is a means to organize a comprehensive inventory of service availability across the entire state with a spotlight on where there are unserved areas. This core information helps identify and quantify areas with and without Internet access, between areas with higher speed versus lower speed Internet access, and areas with numerous providers or few providers. This information is useful for policymakers, community leaders, service providers and others More providers are likely to provide their data for map display so consumers about the services they offer.

 
Also, having an interactive map and database of broadband service information on a website enables Oregon citizens (consumers and businesses) to participate in the project, find alternative providers and services and provide feedback.
 
Q: But don't service providers know where the gaps are?
 
A: This is a complicated question. In many ways, the most important 'gap' is really a product of what a consumer wants and when they want it. On one level, a service provider certainly knows where they put equipment and what may be the maximum coverage that equipment can address. But they likely don't know much about the areas in which they do not have equipment deployed. If you think about this across dozens of providers, it becomes even harder for any individual ISP to know where service doesn't exist.
 
On a second level, consider that infrastructure is placed to satisfy an area's estimated demand. What happens from a demand perspective within that area will change over time. So for a wireline provider, there may have been adequate infrastructure in place to satisfy demand at one point—but if the area has grown, existing facilities may no longer be adequate.  Mapping where service is not available, as well as where people who don't have it and want it, can help identify where facilities may need to be deployed to provide adequate coverage.
Putting all of these dynamic issues on one map helps providers (and policymakers) evaluate new service opportunities and identify areas where coverage can be improved.
 
Q: How are these maps generated?

A: The broadband map is generated using data about service availability collected directly from broadband providers, such as where their broadband facilities are located and the technology used.  The collected data is compiled into a consistent format and assembled for display by small geographic mapping components known as census blocks and street segments. Broadband service availability is shown at a census block level for census blocks less than 2 square miles, and by street segment for census blocks greater than 2 square miles.  All locations/addresses in Oregon fall into one of these mapping components.
 
Q: What is being mapped?

A: The availability of broadband services by technology type is being mapped and it is defined by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) as:
 
"Broadband service is "available" to an end user at an address if a broadband service provider does, or could, within a typical service interval (7 to 10 business days) without an extraordinary commitment of resources, provision two-way data transmission to and from the Internet with advertised speeds of at least 768 kilobits per second (kbps) downstream and at least 200 kbps upstream to the end user at the address."
 
Q: How accurate is the broadband information on the map?
 
A: Several processes are in place to make the map as accurate as possible.  It represents data gathered from broadband providers who have the opportunity and are expected to review their coverage area as depicted on the map for accuracy and to provide corrections when needed.  Not all broadband providers have complied with the request for their broadband data which means there are gaps in coverage where this data is missing.  All broadband data received from providers is compared to 3rd party data and the results are shared with providers if anomalies are uncovered, including their reported speeds and technology types.  The accuracy of the map should improve over time as more broadband providers share their data.
 
Q: Why are uninhabited or unpopulated areas shown to have broadband service?

A: Areas within Census Blocks with zero population were not removed from broadband serviced areas as providers have indicated, under the definition of broadband set forth in the SBDD NOFA, that service could be made available to an address in the approved service area within 7-10 business days.
 
Q: Why are some providers that I know provide high speed internet service not on the map?
 
A: There may be several reasons for this. The map only depicts broadband services offered by carriers that own their facilities. Resellers, service providers that offer services utilizing another provider's facilities, are not currently listed. Names changes that occur when providers merge their companies or buy another company may appear differently for a period of time on the map than they do in other public material such as your service bill. Also, some broadband providers have yet to complete the process of submitting and validating their data.
 
Q: What is a facilities-based broadband service provider?
 
A: "An entity is a 'facilities-based' provider of broadband service connections to end user locations if any of the following conditions are met: (1) it owns the portion of the physical facility that terminates at the end user location; (2) it obtains unbundled network elements (UNEs), special access lines, or other leased facilities that terminate at the end user location and provisions/equips them as broadband; or (3) it provisions/equips a broadband wireless channel to the end user location over licensed or unlicensed spectrum." [SBDD Program Technical Specification]
 
Q: Why are there differences between the Oregon coverage and/or broadband information on the National Broadband Map and the Oregon State map?
 
A: The frequency in which the underlying broadband data is refreshed differs.  Oregon can add or update its broadband data after receiving new or updated data from Oregon's broadband providers.  Under guidance from NTIA, the National Broadband Map utilizes data received from the States bi-annually; currently delivered each April and October.
 

Speed Test
 
Q: What is the Speed Test and how does it work?
 
A: The Speed Test checks how fast your Internet connection is regardless of the technology your Internet service uses.  It analyzes information like download speed, upload speed and latency (delay between your computer and the server its accessing).
 
It is important to note that speed results can vary and may not present a completely accurate representation due to various factors, such as network congestions, time of day, end-user's hardware, capabilities of a router, etc. Although there are variances in the result, data acquired over time provides important information on speed characteristics.
 
Q: Can I check my Internet speed by selecting any of the broadband service providers listed?
 
A: No. The speed test measures the connection speed at which your current Internet connection performs, so please select the Internet service provider that you are now using to access the Oregon Broadband Mapping Project website.
 
Q: Why does the Speed Test want my location and who my broadband service provider is and the type of technology used?
 
A: User's speed test results are captured and stored as supplemental information. This information provides an understanding of the typical Internet speeds users experience in comparison to the speeds advertised or reported by the broadband service providers by service area and technology. Capturing real-time location and technology type assist in refining the typical speed test results for comparison purposes.
 
Q: Why isn't my address showing up on the map?
 
A: New location addresses often take many months to make their way through several addressing systems (local, regional, commercial, federal, etc.) before they are included in the databases that are commonly used for web-based mapping purposes. Established addresses may appear to not be included because the databases from which their locations are derived may have slight errors, such as misspellings, incorrect or absent suffixes (usually these are directionals such as N or SW), incorrect road types (RD instead of AVE), incorrect address range designations, etc.
 
Q: Are the speed test results shown on the map just from tests taken through this website?
 
A:  Yes. Only the results collected from the Speed Test tab are represented on the map.  When a user supplies the requested location and technology information and then runs the speed test, the results are automatically posted on the map at the provided location.
 
Q: How long are speed test results kept for display on the map?
 
A: Speed test results shown on the map represent the current six-month period.
 
Feedback
 
Q: How can I provide feedback or suggest corrections to the map?
 
A: Click on the Feedback tool on the Main Title Bar. A menu pop-up allows users to submit feedback on website functions, tools and content, including data represented on or missing from the map. To submit questions please use the "Contact Us" email link, PUC.Broadband@state.or.us.
 
Q: Are my comments using the Feedback tool automatically represented on the map?
 
A: Yes, the comments that you provide are represented on the map along with the date submitted unless you request that this information not be displayed when you submit the feedback. All contact information that you provide is confidential, and is not displayed on the map itself. Users are encouraged to allow display of their feedback because it provides valuable information to other map users. 
 
Q: How do I see all user feedback displayed on the map itself? 
 
A: To display user feedback, click the Feedback Results display on in the Coverage Tab (found on the Broadband Dashboard just to the left of the interactive map).  A color legend shows the types of Feedback that have been provided by map users. By hovering over an individual feedback flag, comment information will pop-up.
 
Wi-Fi
 
Q: What are the locations displayed on the map when viewing the Wi-Fi Hotspots layer via the Coverage tab?
 
A:  These are Wi-Fi locations that the public has identified and added to the map using the Wi-Fi+ tool on the main title bar of the interactive map. It is not a comprehensive map of all Wi-Fi sites in the state.
 
Q:  How do I add a Wi-Fi Hotspot to the map?
 
A:  Click on the Wi-Fi+ tool on the Main Title bar and fill in the form. Please enter a recognizable reference name and whether or not the Wi-Fi service is free.
 
Q: What do the thumbs-up and thumbs-down icons mean within the Wi-Fi Hotspot pop-up window?
 
A:  These icons allow users to confirm or rebuke the validity of a Wi-Fi Hotspot. Simply click on the green thumbs-up icon if you agree that the site location is accurate, or on the red thumbs-down icon if you think the site location is inaccurate.  If a hotspot receives a high percentage of thumbs-down, then the location is researched and possibly removed from the map. 
 
Confidence Values
 
Q:  What does the confidence value (expressed as a %) mean on an Individual Provider Coverage area, as depicted on the portal map? 
 
A:  Each confidence value (expressed as a percentage between 0 and 100) represents the mapping team's estimate of the likelihood that the provider’s coverage area is correctly depicted on the portal map. This value is based on factors such as:

• Data quality and completeness;
• Alignment with commercially available reference materials and public feedback captured via the Feedback and Speed Test tools embedded in the Oregon Broadband Map;
• Data currency; and,
• Provider engagement with the Broadband Mapping project. 

A service area depiction with a confidence value of 60% or less is considered to be of low quality. A 0% confidence value could be the result of several factors, but typically indicates that the data has been compiled with no interaction with the service provider and with no supporting verification materials. Provider data must meet criteria 1 and criteria 2 (see table below) in order to appear on the Oregon broadband map.
 

Q:  How does the Oregon mapping team calculate each provider's confidence value?

A:  For each technology type and the broadband service area that a provider reports, the Oregon mapping team assigns points for nine criteria. The total points assigned are then converted to a percentage based on the following scale.
• 0 points         = 0%
• 1 to 6 points   = 10% for each point
• 8 points         = 70%
• 10 points       = 80%
• 12 points       = 90%
• 14 points       = 100%

The table below describes the nine criteria. For criteria numbers 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7, the providers earns the point if the description statement is "true." Criteria numbers 3 and 6 allow up to two points if a provider's submission is covered by one of more third-party or crowd-sourced data sets.

 

 

 

 

 

Criteria
Criteria
Description
Points Assigned
01
Technology Type – Geometry
Represents the common geometry of the specified technology
1
02
Technology Type – Attribution
Attribution is complete and matches specified technology
1
03
3rd Party Verification
3rd party verification review supports provider’s footprint, discrepancies are minimal
1 per 3rd party dataset (maximum of 2 points)
04
Provider Validation
Provider validated their coverage via portal or otherwise
1
05
Peer Review
Peer review was completed and agrees with provider’s coverage
1
06
Crowd Sourced Data
Results do not show significant discrepancies and/or supports (agrees) with coverage and attribution. Website: Speed Test Results, Feedback, FCC speed test results.
1 per crowd-sourced dataset  (maximum of 2 points)
07
NTIA Guidelines
1
08
Currency of Overall Process
Data validation and verification activities are current within a timeline of two data submissions, or one year.  2 points if participated in current submission, 1 point if participated in previous submission, 0 points if have not participated within the previous year.
Sliding scale from 0 to 2
09
Provider Engagement
Measure of how engaged the provider is in the project.1 point for responding to communications, 2 points for actively participating and submitting data in a timely manner (not at the last minute), and 3 points for significant work on ensuring update accuracy.
Sliding scale from 0 to 3