help needed - state of california needs a benchmark

Mike mike-nanog at
Sat Jan 29 12:00:36 CST 2011


	My company is small clec / broadband provider serving rural communities 
in northern California, and we are the recipient of a small grant from 
the state thru our public utilities commission. We went out to 'middle 
of nowhere' and deployed adsl2+ in fact (chalk one up for the good 
guys!), and now that we're done, our state puc wants to gather 
performance data to evaluate the result of our project and ensure we 
delivered what we said we were going to. Bigger picture, our state is 
actively attempting to map broadband availability and service levels 
available and this data will factor into this overall picture, to be 
used for future grant/loan programs and other support mechanisms, so 
this really is going to touch every provider who serves end users in the 

	The rub is, that they want to legislate that web based '' 
is the ONLY and MOST AUTHORITATIVE metric that trumps all other 
considerations and that the provider is %100 at fault and responsible 
for making fraudulent claims if doesn't agree. No 
discussion is allowed or permitted about sync rates, packet loss, 
internet congestion, provider route diversity, end user computer 
performance problems, far end congestion issues, far end server issues 
or cpu loading, latency/rtt, or the like. They are going to decide that 
the quality of any provider service, is solely and exclusively resting 
on the numbers returned from '' alone, period.

	All of you in this audience, I think, probably immediately understand 
the various problems with such an assertion. Its one of these situations 
where - to the uninitiated - it SEEMS LIKE this is the right way to do 
this, and it SEEMS LIKE there's some validity to whats going on - but in 
practice, we engineering types know it's a far different animal and 
should not be used for real live benchmarking of any kind where there is 
a demand for statistical validity.

	My feeling is that - if there is a need for the state to do 
benchmarking, then it outta be using statistically significant 
methodologies for same along the same lines as any other benchmark or 
test done by other government agencies and national standards bodies 
that are reproducible and dependable. The question is, as a hotbutton 
issue, how do we go about getting 'the message' across, how do we go 
about engineering something that could be considered statistically 
relevant, and most importantly, how do we get this to be accepted by 
non-technical legislators and regulators?


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