FCC Asking Users To Test Their Broadband Connections

The is offering a broadband as part of its efforts to encourage better broadband service.

United States broadband users can participate in the test by going to Broadband dot gov.

From the website:

    The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) was signed into law by President Obama on February 17th, 2009. The FCC is currently working in coordination with the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to perform the FCC’s role under the Recovery Act. Specifically, in conjunction with the Broadband Technology Opportunities Program established by the Act, the FCC has been tasked with creating a National Broadband Plan by February 17, 2010. The Recovery Act states that the National Broadband Plan shall seek to ensure all people of the United States have access to broadband capability and shall establish benchmarks for meeting that goal.

I think we should help them gather the data they need.

My ISP tested out at about 15,000 kbps down and about 4,000 kbps megs up at the FCC; in contrast, Speedtest dot net, a site that Jeffrey introduced to me, reported 7.91 mbps down and 3.35 mbps up (the FCC reports in kbps, Speedtest in mbp/s). The “down” speeds differ significantly and I cannot account for that. The two sites might be using different testing methods: The FCC says that

Users are randomly assigned the Ookla or M-Lab application.

Once you complete one of the tests, you are given the option of trying the other.

The disparity of results between the FCC tests and Speedtest was similar in Firefox and Opera, though the reported download speeds were faster in Firefox (I have Firefox v. 3.0.17 and Opera v. 10.10 on my Ubuntu v. 8.x netbook here).

I don’t know what my ISP advertises; it was them or Verizon; the very few times I’ve had to call Verizon’s 800-number regarding my landline, the convoluted menu system there has made me reluctant to avail myself of their services when an alternative is available to me. (The real live human beings, once I got to them, were wonderful, but getting to them was an unnecessarily difficult adventure, he said tactfully.)

I learned about this at Balloon Juice.

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