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FCC Asks You To Test Your Broadband Speeds 454

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

    by DarkKnightRadick ( 268025 ) <> on Friday March 12, 2010 @09:56AM (#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).

  • by garcia ( 6573 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:05AM (#31451070)

    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?

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DJLuc1d ( 1010987 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:05AM (#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:Hmm... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:21AM (#31451224)

    This is one of the best tricks I have ever seen to get people to attach their ip address to their street address. Now the Fed doesn't even have to trace anymore, just refer to the street database. brilliant.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by commodore64_love ( 1445365 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:38AM (#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?

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Ed Bugg ( 2024 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:43AM (#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, Interesting)

    by svtdragon ( 917476 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @10:50AM (#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:3, Interesting)

    by shiftless ( 410350 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @11:14AM (#31451846) Homepage

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

    by Khyber ( 864651 ) <> on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:17PM (#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:Hmm... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by charleste ( 537078 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @12:33PM (#31452826)

    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 quoted speeds for ISPs. And NO, I cannot use anything other than cable because the DSL node is too far away, I don't get GSM coverage at my home, and SkyBeam is too unreliable here. No other choice except dial-up or buying my own pipe.

  • Re:Hmm... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by slashdotjunker ( 761391 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @01:17PM (#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:Windows firewall (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Pharmboy ( 216950 ) on Friday March 12, 2010 @04:46PM (#31456224) Journal

    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 politicians.

    If all else fails, I always remember that everything that Hitler did was legal. I'm not afraid of the U.S. government, but I'm smart enough to always be skeptical of the motives of many who are literally enjoying power.

"The pathology is to want control, not that you ever get it, because of course you never do." -- Gregory Bateson