By Michelson 20MM Foundation (Originally published on 20mm.org)
#OaklandUndivided is standing up for the residents of Oakland by identifying data-informed strategies to illustrate disparities in the California Public Utilities Commission’s (CPUC) and the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) broadband maps.
The maps will determine eligibility for the once-in-a-generation State and Federal Broadband infrastructure investments slated to open for applications in the coming weeks. With the support of a 2023 Michelson Spark Grant, they will implement a two-phased project, which will illustrate disparities between the internet quality advertised to low-income residents and actual quality received, highlight potential pricing disparities in service plans, and analyze 57 million California speed tests from all Internet Service Providers this year.
Together with Exactly Labs, #OaklandUndivided will collect data from 75 home broadband speed monitoring devices, which plug directly into the participant’s router and monitor the bandwidth delivered to these homes as well as latency spikes and outages. This study will also collect information about participants’ internet plans and costs as well as qualitative survey information about their overall internet experience.
The participating houses will be selected in partnership with the Oakland Housing Authority and trusted community-based organizations in order to identify if those living in affordable housing buildings receive the performance for which they believe they are paying. This is particularly important because internal wiring assessments conducted by #OaklandUndivided and CWA previously found that coverage claims were overstated in at least 9 out of 12 affordable housing communities surveyed in 2022.
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