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FCC Asks You To Test Your Broadband Speeds 454

Posted by kdawson
from the your-mileage-will-vary dept.
AnotherUsername writes "The Federal Communications Commission is asking the nation's broadband and smartphone users to use its broadband testing tools to help the feds and consumers know what speeds are actually available, not just promised by the nation's telecoms. At http://www.broadband.gov/, users enter their address and test their broadband download speed, upload speed, latency, and jitter using one of two tests (users can choose to test with the other after one test is complete). The FCC is requiring the street address, as it 'may use this data to analyze broadband quality and availability on a geographic basis' (they promise not to release location data except in the aggregate). The agency is also asking those who live in a broadband 'dead zone' to fill out a report online, call, fax, email, or even send a letter. The announcement comes just six days before the FCC presents the first ever national broadband plan to Congress. Java is necessary to run the test." Lauren Weinstein points out some of the limitations in the FCC's testing methodology.
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FCC Asks You To Test Your Broadband Speeds

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  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Pojut (1027544) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:52AM (#31450940) Homepage

    ...I would like to help them out by providing the necessary data, but I'm not sure how comfortable I am with it...tinfoil hat and all that. Anyone planning on doing this? Why or why not?

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DarkKnightRadick (268025) <the_spoon.geo@yahoo.com> on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:56AM (#31450970) Homepage Journal

      I am, or I would. I need to wait for FreeBSD to update the java available in ports, though. It's too much of a pain to get it from Sun.

      Why? Well I'd like to see telco's held to their promised speeds as much as possible. If you are going to advertise one speed but only deliver a lower one, that's false advertising (or something).

      • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ephemeriis (315124) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:56AM (#31451620)

        Why? Well I'd like to see telco's held to their promised speeds as much as possible. If you are going to advertise one speed but only deliver a lower one, that's false advertising (or something).

        This is why I ran their test and submitted the results.

        If you go by my ISP's advertising you'll see they're offering 10 Mbps in my area. What you won't see is that regardless of which plan you sign up for, you're lucky if you can actually get 3 Mbps.

        So, by running their test, they've got something more accurate than what the ISPs will tell them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by shiftless (410350)

          I, on the other hand, am paying for a 6/1 business cable plan (Comcast), and according to this broadband test, I am getting anywhere between 15-20 meg down and a consistent 2.5 meg up, with 20 ms ping +/- 1ms. Makes sense to me since I have seen downloads hit 1.6 MB/sec before. I know some people get the shit end of the stick with cable but I seem to have lucked out here. I earned it after so many years spent at my old place, out in the country with nothing but dialup.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by charleste (537078)

            I am paying for 16/9 and getting 4/4. After repeatedly complaining, having them troubleshoot their hardware, et. Al, they have PROMISED to check the "neighborhood node", replace the immediate (in my neighbors back yard) node, as well as the routing servers, and given me $20/month credit for 6 months. Of course they haven't replace or repaired any of the nodes (the one in my neighbors yard looks like someone took a baseball bat to it), but I have received the credit. So I'm all for letting the FCC enforce

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              >>> I'm all for letting the FCC enforce quoted speeds for ISPs.

              What do you need the FCC for? You can enforce the speeds yourself using existing mechanisms. Simply drag Comcast into court for "breach of contract". You might even be able to get a class-action suit for your local neighborhood where Cmcast was licensed.

              Unfortunately you'd probably lose. Why? The contract you signed, if it looks like my contract, says "upto" a certain speed. Not a guarantee. Which means Comcast has done nothing w

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Mr. Freeman (933986)
                "if it looks like my contract, says "upto" a certain speed. Not a guarantee"

                This is EXACTLY why the FCC is doing this in the first place. They're going to compare the advertised "up to" speed and see how often you can actually get that.

                The problem with this test is that it only measures the speed for about 20 seconds. I have comcast which means "power boost" kicks in for about the first 30 seconds of your download, then you get normal speed, and then my speed seems to fucking tank on torrents after about
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by cayenne8 (626475)
          On the other hand, seems like a nice way to voluntarily pre-fill the fed's database with IP tied to user tied to address.

          I'm sure that would make for a nice little database addition to what they already have.

          Sorry, not interested. I'd rather them have to make at least 'some' effort in their dragnet searches....

          • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Interesting)

            by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Friday March 12, 2010 @11:17AM (#31452640) Homepage Journal

            As often as cable modems break and cable networks switch IP addresses (unless you pay extra for the static IP) I pretty much fail to see how they'll build any reliable database from the cable side of things, as far as IP addresses are concerned (which are not reliable identifiers anyways.)

            I'm on my 10th IP address in two days and my THIRD cable modem in two months, just to give you an indication.

          • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

            by JWSmythe (446288)

                We'll be at your door momentarily to collect you.

                When the agents knock on your door, don't try to run. It won't do you any good. Do feel free to resist though. It gives us an excuse to use violence.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Mr. Freeman (933986)
            Yes, this COULD be a scheme to get your personal information. I consider this to be unlikely, however, because they're ALREADY WIRETAPPING THE ENTIRE FUCKING COUNTRY. Then don't even need a warrant, they just need "probably cause" and to fill out a 1 page form to get any and all of your data from any ISP in the USA.

            They don't need some new sneaky plan to get your data, they already have it.
        • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Informative)

          by JWSmythe (446288) <.jwsmythe. .at. .jwsmythe.com.> on Friday March 12, 2010 @11:51AM (#31453026) Homepage Journal

              Check the fine print. It's written in 1px tall letters, but not necessarily every available to you.

              The advertised rate is the maximum data rate that would be possible with your account.

                They may have the pipe between your house and their first pop at the advertised speeds, but that won't necessarily be available through their network. They cannot assert the reliability of any 3rd part web sites, nor connectivity on any network beyond their own.

              Additionally, they probably don't (read: never) have enough capacity on their network to take 100% of advertised rate for all users simultaneously. Providers always oversell their bandwidth. They have since the dialup days. "Ok, we have 1,000 56k modems. Therefore we should have 56Mb/s available. Great, we'll run it over this T1, and blame line noise on their end for any slower speeds."

              Bandwidth calculations for sales are very dependent on the fact that some of the customers will never use their service. Some will only use it intermittently. Those who use too much capacity will be throttled or cancelled.

              When cable modems were first coming out, RoadRunner was using the same provider as my work. I could download stuff from work to home at 10Mb/s. That lasted for a few months, and then I suddenly found it capped at 3Mb/s. Ok, still, I'm happy, this was years ago and my other choice was a 56k modem. Then I found it capped at 1.5Mb/s. I was starting to get annoyed, so I called to complain. "My connection is getting slower and slower." They told me it couldn't have possibly been 10Mb/s, they never provisioned anything like that. Hmm. They also said the advertised rate of 3Mb/s is only a maximum. If other people in the area are using service at the same time as me, I should expect slower times. No one ever sees their maximum advertised throughput. If I'd like, I could upgrade to "Business" service for 10x as much, which has a higher advertised rate, but still does not have a guarantee for throughput. It's in the fine print, in the addendum that I wasn't provided a copy of. In the cellar. Behind the locked door marked "Beware the Leopard". In the disused lavatory. In the bottom drawer of a locked file cabinet. Clearly it was my fault for not understanding the terms of the contract, therefore I need to shut up and pay my bill like a happy little customer.

    • Can't they trace the IP instead?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by tpstigers (1075021)
        They can trace the IP, but it will lead them to your provider, not your house. I think the idea here is to learn about speed according to geographic location (i.e., neighborhood) rather than by provider.
      • by jgreco (1542031) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:11AM (#31451136)

        They want to determine coverage. You cannot derive street-level coverage of broadband from IP addresses easily. As it stands, one of the problems with broadband is that you do not get universally consistent coverage, for example, at home, the 3/768 DSL offering of one of the CLEC's failed testing and they provisioned it for 1.5/512 instead. Had we been half a mile closer to the CO, 3/768 likely would have worked. There will be someone else a little further out who can only get it as 768/384.

        The real problem will be for the FCC to get enough people to run this to get a meaningful map. I doubt that they'll get enough for it to really matter.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by aicrules (819392)
      I did it from work, but said I was doing it from home. Further, I entered an address of a home (not mine) in a rural area in my state that is currently trying to get federal stimulus money because they have no broadband.
      • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by timeOday (582209) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:03AM (#31451040)

        I did it from work, but said I was doing it from home. Further, I entered an address of a home (not mine) in a rural area in my state that is currently trying to get federal stimulus money because they have no broadband.

        So your goal to make sure they don't get any stimulus money for broadband by making it appear they do?

        Anyways, it's hard to imagine they won't be discarding outliers, and (regardless of intentions) your dishonest result will be an outlier.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          >>>So your goal to make sure they don't get any stimulus money for broadband by making it appear they do?

          Our national debt is nearly $130,000 per American home* and projected by Obama's budget to increase +$10,000 more each year. We. Need. To Stop. Spending. Otherwise we'll have ~$200,000/home by the end of this decade, and all go bankrupt. As Cosby might say, "C'mon people! This isn't hard to figure out."

          The solution to broadband is ridiculously easy -

          - Congress should mandate with a simple

          • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:26AM (#31451268)

            The solution to broadband is ridiculously easy -

            - Congress should mandate with a simple law that the telephone company must provide DSL to any customer requests it (within six months). The twisted-pair lines are already there, except for the need to add a neighborhood DSLAM. If Verizon/ATT/whoever balk about expense, simply point to the billions they received circa 1996 and say "use that". Actually the expense should be quite low to upgrade existing phone lines to DSL lines.

            So you're proposing that instead of the taxpayer paying for it via taxes, the customers will pay for it via price increases handed down by the providers to cover the extra costs?

            So it's OK for everyone to pay for it as long as it's not called taxes? Brilliant.

            • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by butchersong (1222796) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:38AM (#31451396)
              I believe his point was that the federal government is at the moment not capable of paying for ANYTHING. So yeah a consumer that wishes to have broadband paying for the service is preferable to the government borrowing more money to pay for something they wouldn't implement correctly anyway.
            • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

              by commodore64_love (1445365) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:38AM (#31451402) Journal

              >>>instead of the taxpayer paying for it via taxes, the customers will pay for it

              That's right. At least as a customer, you can cancel the bill if you feel it's too high, or downgrade to a cheaper service. For example I downgraded from $60 to $15 when comcast raised their rates.

              - As a customer you have power to cancel or moderate your spending.
              - As a taxpayer you have zero power.
              - I prefer the former to the latter, don't you?

              • You conveniently chose only part of the statement.

                customers will pay for it via price increases handed down by the providers to cover the extra costs.

                The extra costs will be added to everyone's bill to cover your government mandated DSL program, not just the people who get it.

                Your 'customer action' approach would be that everyone downgrade their service when the providers increase their charges to cover a government mandated rollout?

            • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

              by Ed Bugg (2024) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:43AM (#31451462)

              So you're proposing that instead of the taxpayer paying for it via taxes, the customers will pay for it via price increases handed down by the providers to cover the extra costs?

              So it's OK for everyone to pay for it as long as it's not called taxes? Brilliant.

              As much as you aimed that comment sarcastically, you are right on the money. Think of it as paying for something you actually use and is meaningful to you. Rather then paying for a service that you didn't use, but instead someone got to use.

              Or to put it another way. Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can sit in your parents basement getting high scores on Call of Duty since you have virtually no lag time thanks to my taxes?

              • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:29AM (#31452026)

                Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can go to the library and read books thanks to my taxes? I only buy books - I have no need for a library.

                Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can drive on improved roads thanks to my taxes? I work from home and have a big car - I have no need for pothole-free roads.

                Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can send your child to a school funded by my taxes? I have no children, and if I did they would go to a private school.

                Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can be assured of eating safe food, thanks to the FDA's use of my taxes? I have my own farm - I have no need for food regulation.

                Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can get medicare thanks to my taxes?
                Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can be safe thanks to the military funded by my taxes?
                Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can drink soda made from HFCS, subsidized by my taxes?
                Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can have onion routing, thanks to DARPA funded by my taxes?

              • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

                by D Ninja (825055) on Friday March 12, 2010 @11:11AM (#31452576)

                Why should I work for 60 hours a week busting my rear so that you can sit in your parents basement getting high scores on Call of Duty since you have virtually no lag time thanks to my taxes?

                Well, um...I'm still getting lag time, so apparently you're not working hard enough...

              • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

                by slashdotjunker (761391) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:17PM (#31453358)
                That's exactly why you bust your butt for 60 hours a week. You do it so that he sits in his parent's basement and gets high scores on Call of Duty instead of going out and mugging you in Central Park. Every large society is going to have some dead weight. It is a problem that cannot be ignored. Either you provide social services for the dead weight, or the dead weight turns to crime, or you euthanize the dead weight. Personally, I hate crime and I don't want to even think about the moral and procedural issues of deciding who gets to live. Thus, I pay my taxes. I don't like it, but it's the only solution we have that works.
              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by nine-times (778537)
                You do know that people use the Internet for things other than entertainment, right?
            • by Klaruz (734)

              The solution to broadband is ridiculously easy -

              - Congress should mandate with a simple law that the telephone company must provide DSL to any customer requests it (within six months). The twisted-pair lines are already there, except for the need to add a neighborhood DSLAM. If Verizon/ATT/whoever balk about expense, simply point to the billions they received circa 1996 and say "use that". Actually the expense should be quite low to upgrade existing phone lines to DSL lines.

              So you're proposing that instead of the taxpayer paying for it via taxes, the customers will pay for it via price increases handed down by the providers to cover the extra costs?

              So it's OK for everyone to pay for it as long as it's not called taxes? Brilliant.

              Did you even read what he said? We ALREADY paid for it with our taxes in the 90s, instead of building out broadband THEY STOLE THE MONEY.

          • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

            by svtdragon (917476) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:50AM (#31451542)
            Might be handy to look up national debt as a percentage of GDP. From historical experience, where we are now is far from untenable--and Bush's tax cuts cost us a great deal more, in terms of the deficit, than Obama's budget.

            Relax the "zomg deficit spending is teh baaaad" meme until we're out of the recession/under 10% unemployment, mkay?
        • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:28AM (#31451294) Journal
          Where would that money come from?

          Reaching into one's own pockets to assist his fellow man in need is praiseworthy and laudable. Reaching into someone else's pockets to do so is despicable and deserves condemnation. - Walter Williams
      • So you deliberate made an area trying to get federal support because it doesn't have available broadband look like it has broadband? That's not very nice...

    • give'em approximate address? (like... corner house on your block).

      In my case, it's the apartment building without apartment number.

      • by Selivanow (82869)

        What's the point? The Feds already know where I live...I did want my tax return. So now they know "how fast" my connection is.

        • I told them I live in one of the US Minor islands.. which is semi true. I live in the UK. They may or may not fall for my address: 12345, City: 12345, Zipcode: 12345..

          • Zip 12345 is Schenectady, NY. You could have at least used '123 Fake Street'. It doesn't take much to fool the government but you at least gotta try a little.
            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by somersault (912633)

              Meh, it worked. I doubt the US government is going to chase me down and imprison me for it. Well, I hope not. Hang on, there's someone at the do-

        • by omnichad (1198475)

          Not to mention you probably already have a driver's license, and that requires a current address. Does anyone seriously believe the government doesn't know where they live?

          • The privacy concerns aren't so much about knowing where you live, but rather being able to correlate an IP address/address range with that street address.
    • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DJLuc1d (1010987) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:05AM (#31451072)
      They don't ask for your name, just location, which I am ok with. It's a census year anyways and I plan on participating which is more of a threat to my privacy than a nameless broadband test.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by mikes.song (830361)
      I did it, and it says I have 26811 kbps down and 409 kbps up. I call BS. It has to be a conspiracy.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        First, you'll need to stop all other network activity during the test to get an accurate result. Second, don't get kB and kb confused... 1kB=8kb.

        Happy testing.

    • Re:Hmm... (Score:4, Funny)

      by Profane MuthaFucka (574406) <busheatskok@gmail.com> on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:34AM (#31451360) Homepage Journal

      I like your thinking. This is the government asking for this after all, you can't even trust the government with your social security number! Giving them your address is just asking for trouble.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by alen (225700)

      do you think they will install malware on your PC?

      i've lived in the US for almost 30 years and came from east of the iron curtain. you tin foil people make me laugh.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by nomadic (141991)
      Yes because the government might figure out.....WHERE I LIVE? NOOOO!
  • by Pharmboy (216950) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:55AM (#31450958) Journal

    Windows firewall pops up a warning in the middle of the test, which will likely mess up the results since it will cause a delay. Not sure I like unblocking an application that the government is sponsoring either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If you don't like the idea of a government-sponsored network testing application accessing the network why would you even bother to download and execute it?

      The activities of any network speed tester should attract the attention of a competent firewall, since they will necessarily involve doing some uploading and downloading. If this makes you nervous, just don't execute the code(or, if you have the java chops, examine it first and make sure that the filler data used for the upload portion of the test is
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Pharmboy (216950)

        You (and others) seemed to have taken my words a bit out of context. I ran the program, then reblocked the ports. I'm not paranoid about the 'gubmint being out to get me', but I think anyone with any sense of history knows that it is always best to be a bit leery when it comes to governments, which are typically run by people who enjoy power. This is the same government who approved the DCMA, software patents, and the Patriot Act. My sense of "liberty" is obviously not the same as most elected politicia

    • by moosesocks (264553) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:51AM (#31451562) Homepage

      Not sure I like unblocking an application that the government is sponsoring either.

      Run a packet sniffer, and if you find anything particularly damning, there will be plenty of media outlets that will want to buy the story from you.

      Honestly, between Comcast and the government, I know which of the two I'd trust.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by John Hasler (414242)

        In contrast to the government I have no personal reason to distrust Comcast, never having had any dealings with them (and not crediting Slashdot rants about how evil they are). However, trust is not necessary. Both are often quite predictable and in this case the chance that the FCC is hiding something nefarious in this test is so small as to provoke laughter at those who are worried about it.

        Besides, any trojan would be aimed at Windows anyway.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:58AM (#31450996) Homepage Journal
    ie have the applet download some porn and measure how long it took!
  • by ptbarnett (159784) on Friday March 12, 2010 @08:59AM (#31451002)
    I ran the test and the measurements were 10% of the speed of my FIOS connection.

    It offered me the opportunity to rerun the test using Ookla as the host. That returned 25 megabit/sec down and 15 megabit/sec up -- which is what my connection is supposed to do.

    They apparently need to implement some sort of queue, so that they don't saturate their own connection with too many simultaneous tests.

    • I got similar data rate measurements from both engines, but the latency with MBLAB was 450 ms, jitter 420, whille Ookla was 25 ms, jitter 8.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Idbar (1034346)
      And it's convenient that the test, which allegedly requires Java, also complains that I need to upgrade to the last version of flash. I'm guessing not many iPhone/AT&T results in this poll.
  • if I were them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:02AM (#31451022)

    I would selectively throttle http://www.broadband.gov/ to 110% of the nominal bandwidth being paid for :)

    • by Sparr0 (451780)

      Someone at Comcast seems to already be on this. My connection goes to shit when I use BT, including latency and packet loss, but magically my numbers on that particular test stay nearly ideal.

    • by eth1 (94901)

      This was my first thought, too... Wondering how long it would take every ISP in the country to put this testing traffic to the top of their QoS & traffic shaping priorities.

  • Why not just add it to the census. :)
  • Classic failures (Score:2, Informative)

    by jgreco (1542031)

    An iPhone (yes there's an iPhone app) test and a laptop test on the same wifi reported wildly different numbers.

    Selecting a server 800 miles away rather than the one in the same city yielded much improved numbers (by whole number multiples).

    Speedtest.net already has an extensive database, and appears to be part of the backend of this. It's too bad the FCC couldn't have just handed them a small pile of cash to summarize the existing data, which would probably have been better at rapidly producing results.

    • by ari_j (90255)
      This is the same administration that sent us all mail to tell us that they will be sending us mail in the near future. Not exactly surprising when they reinvent another wheel, even if it's another agency this time.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      This "test" is typical of government programs. Expensive, doesn't work right, and ends-up not fulfilling its promises.

      Remember EZpass in 2000? When I signed-up the government told me it would save time and money. Instead of $1 for a toll, I paid 90 cents, which saved a lot of cash over a month's time. Then in 2005 they eliminated the savings, but I kept the EZpass for convenience. And now in 2010 they want me to PAY $20 more each year than the cash drivers. I'm getting rid of my EZpass. It's typical

      • by SQLGuru (980662)

        Don't forget about instances where a toll in instituted to pay for the road. Once the road is paid for, the toll is continued because the budget now depends on it. I know it happened in New Orleans, but I'm pretty sure that isn't the only place where that has happened.

    • Could you imagine the outcry among speedtest users if speedtest gave information to the gov't for this? It would damage their reputation, and it would damage the FCC's reputation as well for collecting data through a back-channel rather than through request. This isn't even weighing in speedtest's privacy policy and the fact that ISPs have already optimised their burst performance around benchmarks like speedtest.

  • by garcia (6573) on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:05AM (#31451070) Homepage

    I've tried the numerous broadband speed testers out there. Depending on where they are and who they are I have received results as low as 1/5th my actual bandwidth to twice as much. Sometimes I wondered if they were really trying at all. I generally judge my downstream on an average of what I get when I do an aptitude update ; aptitude upgrade as it seems to be inline with my actual advertised speeds. As far as downstream, I use my machine via SSH daily and the speeds I get through that. Pretty consistent.

    This test was pretty much dead on accurate. I was 9993/975 (I have 10/1). The test was painless, easy, and the only thing I didn't particularly care for was the fact that they wanted your exact address. Wouldn't a simple portion of your address work well enough (e.g. 1xx Main St 90210) instead of the entire thing? Even if they were looking to aggregate the information by Zip+4 that should be enough, right? Who needs it any lower than that?

  • Comcast in Hanover County, VA 23059:

    down: 20347 kbps
    up: 3144 kbps
    latency: 20 ms
    jitter: 1 ms

    Tested with Ookla - running firefox.

  • by Rockoon (1252108)

    Users are randomly assigned the Ookla or M-Lab application.
    Note: the M-Lab application currently does not work with Safari, Chrome, and Opera web browsers.

    Really? So the 3 most standards compliant browsers arent supported?

    • by garcia (6573)

      Worked fine in Chrome for me *shrug*.

    • by jittles (1613415)
      I tried to run it as well and it required Flash 9 or higher to run. I refuse to install Flash so I guess I can't help them out any.
    • The frist test I got said it was Ookla then I could try M-Lab but at the end of the supposed M-Lab test the results page said it was Ookla and I could now try M-Lab. Also needed to hit the "start test" button twice in each case. Still some bugs to work out before the program really starts up in 5 days.
    • by Artifakt (700173)

      The M-lab version also didn't work for me (Firefox, but on Kubuntu). Ookla seems to work (25 M down, 2.5 M up, 50 ms latency sounds about right). Go figure.

  • Is this a prelude to the FCC clamping down on ISPs' habit of overselling or are they simply gathering data for it's own sake?
    • by tepples (727027)
      Given the reference to a "broadband dead zone" in the summary, I imagine that this, combined with the census, will be used as justification for a communications counterpart to the late 1930s rural electrification project that made up part of President FDR's New Deal.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by weiserfireman (917228)

        Give this man a cookie. In 1994 the REA was abolished and replaced with the Rural Utilities Service. They are most definately trying to justify their existence by trying to be involved in Federal broadband initiatives.

  • Im able to run the test from outside the US. This data con not possibly be considered trustworthy.
    • That would be trivial to weed out as your IP will be completely wrong. Also, under the assumption that most visitors will provide correct information, they can simply exclude unrealistic samples.

  • Admittedly, it's 6:30 in the morning, when most of the apartment complex in San Diego (UTC area, 92122) is still asleep. Nonetheless, for basic high speed from Time Warner Cable, I'm quite surprised by the speed. I've always been happy with the speed they provide, but I didn't realize that it would burst so high. Of course, other than broadband.gov no one is pushing data down my connection at those speeds anyways.

    Download speed: 29836 kbps
    Upload speed: 964 kbps
    Latency: 17 ms
    Jitter 2 ms

  • This is a waste of time, and simply another one in the current Democratic FCC's array of disappointments. This kind of voluntary speed test information gathering is worthless, since there's no way to vet the contributors' address claims. It's really just for show, just like the rest of the FCC's attempts to regulate.

    The problem right now is the FCC's policies, and from what I've heard its upcoming National Broadband Plan, are wimpy, non-confrontational, and will do nothing to change the status quo in th

  • So, who doesn't think their ISP has just read this article and added a bypass to all of the "traffic shaping" systems just for this application? A quick show of hands!

    Nobody? Hmmm... That's odd.
  • Great job! (Score:3, Informative)

    by MaWeiTao (908546) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:32AM (#31452070)

    This site doesn't instill a whole lot of confidence in the government's plan for national broadband. First the site has difficulty loading, it took a few minutes before I got in. So I try the test and Firefox locks up. Eventually I get an unresponsive script warning.

  • Tail Wagging Dog (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bxwatso (1059160) on Friday March 12, 2010 @11:28AM (#31452764)
    I find it odd that, after the FCC has spent tens of billions of dollars promoting and installing broadband as a social service, they are now doing a study of who has broadband and where. It is almost as if they have been putting policy before the facts, a common Washington fault.

"Consistency requires you to be as ignorant today as you were a year ago." -- Bernard Berenson

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