Policy by the Numbers

Data for sound policymaking from Google and friends


International Broadband Pricing Study: Dataset for public use

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Update: Since we published the dataset last week, we have received a lot of positive feedback which has helped us to improve the quality of the dataset. Communications Chambers has used this feedback to update the dataset. Today, we are publishing a 2.0 version of the dataset and are updating the links above to the new dataset and are deprecating the old Fusion Tables.

Specifically, we have done the following for the revised data set:

  • Added incremental data for fixed and mobile, including revising observations which were unclear or inaccurate.
  • Flagged each fixed plan according to whether it includes or excludes VAT (wherever data was available). This should facilitate international comparisons of rates on a net-of-VAT basis, which is obviously useful for understanding underlying cost variation.
  • Flagged plans that required a voice line (where we could discern).
  • Added a field in the dataset for the download speed in Mbps in order to facilitate comparison of plans denominated variously in Kbps/Mbps/Gbps.
  • Added a standardised column(in MB) for data allowances in the mobile dataset.

We have also revised and expanded the explanatory notes.

Please keep the updates coming. Through open sourcing the dataset it will only get more comprehensive and more accurate over time.

At Google, we believe strongly in the power of data and the beauty of openness. Taken together, these two assets can provide remarkable solutions to complex problems.

We decided to apply this joint approach to informing a data-driven analysis to provide insight into what policies can best be implemented in order to lower the cost of Internet access for users. We found existing datasets to be insufficient because they provided only summary statistics. So, we hired a respected consultancy, Communications Chambers, to produce an international dataset of retail broadband Internet connectivity prices. The result was an international dataset of 3,655 fixed and mobile broadband retail price observations, with fixed broadband pricing data for 93 countries and mobile broadband pricing data for 106 countries. The dataset can be used to make international comparisons and evaluate the efficacy of particular public policies—e.g., direct regulation and oversight of Internet peering and termination charges—on consumer prices.

Today, we are releasing this dataset for reuse with attribution with the hope that it will be used for robust, independent analyses to offer recommendations for regulatory best practices in these areas.

  • A Fusion Table containing the price observations for 1,497 fixed broadband plans can be found here.
  • A Fusion Table containing 2,158 mobile broadband prices can be found here.
  • Ancillary data is here.

We encourage everyone to combine the data with data from other, compatible sources. If you would like to make contributions to the dataset, please let us know. We have also created a Google Group—International Broadband Pricing Study—for those interested in making comments on the dataset and receiving future updates. Explanatory notes on the data can be found here for those interested in analyzing the data or making additional contributions.

We're excited that we can provide regulators, policy makers, academics, advocates, and any other interested parties with the data they can use to make better-informed policy decisions. We look forward to seeing what you find out!

Ken Carter is Policy Counsel at Google.

3 comments:

Dave Burstein said...

Very welcome effort, but the data needs to be checked for errors much more closely.

Policy by the Numbers said...

Thank you for your feedback! We've just posted updated datasets that hopefully address some of the errors.

jimmy jam said...

Flagged each fixed plan according to whether it includes or excludes VAT (wherever data was available). This should facilitate international comparisons of rates on a net-of-VAT basis, which is obviously useful for understanding underlying cost variation. unlimited business broadband