If you’ve just signed up for a SamKnows Whitebox, you may be wondering why you haven’t yet been selected. For our voluntary projects, our selection process is dependant on our sample plan.
In this article we’ll explain what the sample plan is and how it affects you.
For more about our sign up process, see How to sign up for a Whitebox.
What is the sample plan?
The sample plan is a detailed outline of who and what we are measuring for each project.
Regulators often want to measure the most popular packages (broadband speed tiers) and the largest ISPs, as this helps them cover as much of the broadband market as possible.
We work with regulators (and often ISPs) to determine which of their packages are the most popular and which should be included in our studies. This allows us to choose a specific set of users who will be representative of the total group or population.
Here’s an example for you (the names and figures in this example are just for illustration):
Wakanda’s government regulator, Wakanda Telecoms Authority (WTA), wants to get an accurate picture of internet performance across the country.
It has ordered 2,500 Whiteboxes from SamKnows. It wants 50 Whiteboxes online per package.
There are 10 ISPs in Wakanda. Out of this total, five ISPs cover least 85% of the broadband market, so these will be measured in a national plan.
Each of the five largest ISPs in Wakanda have between three and five packages available for customers to buy. Not all of these packages will be that popular with customers though – some might be old packages that the ISPs are moving people away from, while some might be newly released (e.g. 1Gbps+ packages).
WTA decides it will only look at the packages that have the top 80% of subscribers on.
So, for example, GoGo Zoom offers five packages:
- Basic (5Mbps download x 1Mbps upload)
- Lightning Fast (10Mbps x 1Mbps)
- Family (50Mbps x 5Mbps)
- Fast (100Mbps x 10Mbps)
- Superfast (1Gbps x 1Gbps)
Family, Fast and Basic are the most popular packages with 82% of all GoGo Zooms’ customers buying these. So, these are the packages that WTA will look to measure in a nationwide internet study.
Once we have the list of what we’re going to measure, we start to look at the who. With the cooperation of the five ISPs in Wakanda, SamKnows recruits volunteers to be part of the project. Volunteers who sign up and are selected will receive a Whitebox.
- 100 volunteers sign up on the Fast package – we can only send out 50 Whiteboxes, so this package tier is over-subscribed. We do need to top-up packages though, so volunteers on the waiting list may be selected later on
- 50 volunteers sign up on the Basic package – all volunteer’s requests can be fulfilled
- 75 customers sign up on the Superfast package – this tier isn’t in the sample plan, so we aren’t able to send Whiteboxes to them.
So, please understand that spaces are limited.
How does the sample plan impact volunteers?
Our sample plans are unique to each country. They are created in collaboration with each country’s government regulator and internet service providers (ISPs).
They may be revised regularly or at specific portions of the project.
Our projects are conducted over a long period of time. Therefore, we do look for users who are keen to be part of a long-term project.
The sample plan impacts volunteers in the following ways:
- Sign up selection is limited by your ISP and package
- Waiting list times will vary and some users may not be selected at all
- Whitebox replacements are limited by your ISP and package
- If the project is cancelled for any reason, we may not be able to fulfil waiting list or replacement requests
What if your not eligible for a Whitebox at this time?
If you really want a Whitebox, but your profile is not part of the sample plan, we are currently working on an alternative solution. We will notify you as soon as we are able to.