FCC responds to questions about broadband speed tests
The Federal Communications Commission responded Friday evening to questions about the broadband speed tests it launched Thursday, saying that data collected from the effort will be supplemented by other information in the agency’s analysis of connection speeds.
The point of collecting data on broadband speeds and service quality is so that the FCC knows — down to the level of a home address — how well different parts of the United States are being served by Internet providers.
About 80,000 people have tried the tests — using an iPhone application and a Web-based test — in the first day. Some users expressed concern about widely varying results, saying that because the tests were voluntary, the agency wouldn’t get a full portrait of broadband access and speeds in any geographic area.
An FCC lawyer, Jordan Usdan, responded in a statement Friday that information from the tests would be combined with other data, such as a mapping data, and used in the agency’s final broadband proposal, which is scheduled to be presented to Congress next week.
“There is a real value add here, giving the FCC another granular data layer of broadband service availability,” Usdan said. “Yes, software-based tools can provide individuals with inconsistent performance results, some of which are out of the control of the ISP. ... However, this crowd-sourced speed data will be useful: Given a large sample size, the FCC can analyze performance trends over time and on a comparative basis across large geographies.”
Public interest groups say that data collected by the FCC should include the names of ISPs providing the service so the agency can know how many providers operate in different areas. And information on transmission speeds should also be accompanied by data on prices for service.
March 12, 2010; 10:11 PM ET
Categories: Broadband , FCC
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