Broadband Measurement and Metrics for a Sustainable Internet

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Workshop Theme: 
Other Events
Theme Question: 

What IG choices, best practices and technical and policy challenges impact the migration of resources starting to run over IP

Concise Description of Workshop: 

The Internet has been a driver for economic development globally. To continue to maintain and grow the Internet as a force for economic and social development, it is essential to understand broadband networks. Without good data on network performance, regulators, industry leaders, and consumers are operating in the dark. They are unable to responsibly make the decisions that will ensure a sustainable, healthy Internet. Broadband networks are hugely complex, decentralized, and dynamic. Because of this, a clear understanding of network health requires new approaches from all stakeholders, and a new paradigm of collaboration between industry, academia, and government that can draw on the expertise of each to ensure that this complex and crucial resource is maintained, and that decisions are made based on sound, scientific data. During this workshop a diverse panel of stakeholders will examine the state of broadband measurement, data collection, and meaningful analysis. The themes discussed will range from the technical challenges of broadband measurement, to new regulatory approaches for using and communicating available data, to new models for consumer education and empowerment around broadband performance. Existing broadband measurement solutions will be discussed, along with ideas on the future of measurement and data-based understanding of network performance.

Organiser(s) Name: 

This workshop is being hosted by Meredith Whittaker at Google and Serge Fdida at UPMC

Previous Workshop(s): 

Report is at the bottom of the Workshop description:

Submitted Workshop Panelists: 


  • Vint Cerf, Vice President, Google (Panel Host)
  • Meredith Whittaker, Program Manager, Google Research (Moderator)
  • Timur Friedman, Network and Performance Group, University Pierre et Marie Curie, Sorbonne Universités (France)
  • Ben Scott, Director, Open Technology Institute (Germany)
  • Harald Wium Lie, Senior Analyst, Nexia (Norway)
  • Vasso Gogou, Helenic Post and Telecommunication Commission (Greece)
  • Ruben Bloemgarten, Chokepoint Project (Netherlands)
  • Martin Levy, Director of IPv6 Development, Hurricane Electric
Name of Remote Moderator(s): 
Sarah Falvey, Google
Assigned Panellists: 
Gender Report Card
Please estimate the overall number of women participants present at the session: 
There were very few women participants
To what extent did the session discuss gender equality and/or women's empowerment?: 
It was not seen as related to the session theme and was not raised
Reported by: 
Meredith Whittaker, Program Manager, Google Research
A brief substantive summary and the main issues that were raised: 

This was an interactive panel that involved lively dialog between the audience and the panelists.

Some of the themes covered include:

Openness and open measurement
Open measurement means scientifically replicable results. Measurements must be conducted openly at every step so that researchers and the global internet community can verify their accuracy, and improve the methodologies in time with the complex and dynamic changes continually taking place across networks. Regulators and policy makers must rely on this open, scientifically-verifiable information in order to maintain public trust and accountability.

Globally consistent metrics
The Internet is a network of networks, spanning the globe. There is no single, centralized point from which accurate observation can be conducted. As such measurement must reflect this, crossing boundaries and regions in order to comprise a source of information that represents the state of the Internet as a global whole.  Ensuring that methodologies and measurement infrastructure is consistent globally is important to create an accurate and complete picture of Internet health.

Consumer empowerment
Internet users should have access to a clear source of intelligible information about the way the networks they rely on and pay to access are functioning, and whether a problem they are experiencing is caused by their ISP, another ISP, or an issue elsewhere. Networks must serve individuals and communities, and to do this it is crucial that an accountable source of information about what happens to user data when it traverses networks is made available, creating a standard of user agency and data-based accountability.

Regulatory responsibility
Regulators and those responsible for crafting internet policy must rely on good data. This is a given. Given the complexity and dynamism of the global Internet, it is important that new and scientifically-sound processes for obtaining and ensuring good data be adopted at the regulatory level. Specifically, data gathered on the performance and health of the Internet must be obtained through scientifically-sound methodologies. To ensure that these methodologies keep pace with the changes and idiosyncrasies of global networks, it is crucial that the data and the process by which it is obtained remain open to scrutiny by anyone. Only in this way can the global Internet community collaborate to inform this process, and work together to ensure that the methods for data collection match the reality of changing networks.

Nurturing the multi-stakeholder Internet
The internet is the product of diverse constituencies cooperating in surprising and productive ways across diverse regional and other boundaries. To maintain the Internet as a force for economic and social development, it is crucial that information on how the Internet is performing at all layers be available to these broad constituencies. A multi-stakeholder Internet requires a source of sound, verifiable information available to all stakeholders.

Maintaining user privacy
Data is crucial, and so is protecting individual privacy. With this in mind, the community working on creating and maintaining sources of open data is urged to ensure that measurements that contribute to this knowledge measure networks, and not users. To ensure accurate, scientifically-verifiable, and thus necessarily open data, this challenge must be taken seriously.

Conclusions and further comments: 

Internet policy and stewardship must be founded on an accurate understanding of the functioning and health of the Internet. This workshop explored open network measurement as a means to found a clear, useful, shared understanding that can enable the IGF and the global internet community to create policies that grow and maintain the Internet.