Broadband services characterization in their larger context

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Talk Abstract:

As one of the most economically significant and fastest growing sectors of the Internet, broadband networks have attracted interest from researchers, network operators, and policy makers. Providing broadband Internet access is known to be instrumental in social and economic development, and several governments and the UN have gone as far as labeling broadband access a ‘basic human right’, similar to education and water. While several recent and ongoing efforts have shed light on the performance and availability of broadband services, we lack a clear understanding of how these services are being used and how this use is impacted by the particulars of the market.

In this talk I will present ongoing work toward understanding broadband networks in their broader context, exploring the complex interplay between broadband service characteristics and user behavior. We try to answer deceptively simply questions such as:

How much bandwidth do people actually need? How does price affect usage? Do users in developing and developed countries impose different demands on their services? What is the impact of connection quality on usage?

To this end, we combine data on broadband performance and usage, with relative broadband service pricing from around the world, and use alternative experimental designs to move beyond correlation analysis as we study the relationship between user demand, broadband service retail prices, and connection characteristics

About the speaker:

Fabián E. Bustamante is a professor of computer science in the EECS department at Northwestern University. He has been at Northwestern since 2002, after receiving his Ph.D. and M.S. in Computer Science from the Georgia Institute of Technology. His research focuses on the measurement, analysis and design of Internet-scale distributed systems and their supporting infrastructure. He and his group have released over 15 software artifacts that have been adopted by over 1.5 million users from nearly every country in the world. Fabián is a recipient of the US National Science Foundation CAREER award and the E.T.S. Watson Fellowship Award from the Science Foundation of Ireland, and a senior member of both the ACM and the IEEE. He was the general co-chair for the ACM SIGCOMM 2014. Fabián currently serves in the editorial boards of IEEE Internet Computing, the ACM SIGCOMM CCR, the IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, the Steering Committee for IEEE P2P (as chair), and the External Advisory Board for the mPlane initiative. For more detailed information and a list of publications, please visit: (