The FCC initiated its Measuring Broadband America (MBA) program in 2010 and has since then provided periodic reports on a sample set of consumers served by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who serve approximately eighty-five percent of broadband consumers in the United States. In consultation with the program stakeholders, the FCC has agreed to base each MBA report upon a single reference month. The definition of a reference month allows all participants to be compared across the same time frame. Reference months are extensively audited for data integrity to help achieve a high level of accuracy in reports and the data set for the reference month associated with each report is released with the report. The FCC only uses data gathered in agreed-upon reference months and audited according to the established methodologies in the comparative analysis of ISPs included in its reports.
As part of its policy of openness and transparency for the MBA program, the FCC periodically releases all data collected through the program as part of a raw unaudited data set. Such data is provided "as is" with the FCC making no assertion as to the quality of such data. Specifically, the extensive integrity checking that is performed preparing data for each report during both the collection and in post-collection data analysis and processing has not been performed on this raw collected data. In addition, related customer data sets such as speed tiers for individual panelists and the identities of ISPs supporting each participant are verified only for indicated reference months and may be affected by such factors as customer churn following the verified months. Because such necessary auditing of data is not performed on raw data, the data is not suitable for FCC use in comparing ISP performance. However, the FCC recognizes that this data can have value to the research community and others interested in broadband network performance, and releases it for this purpose.