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FCC rolls out iPhone app, Web site to test speeds, quality of broadband

Now you're talking. The Federal Communications Commission released tools Thursday that allow users to test the speeds and quality of service for their wireless and landline broadband connections. With that information, they (and the FCC) can know if broadband providers are offering the speeds they promise.

The agency's launched iPhone and Android applications and a feature on its Web site that allows users to see what their upload and download connection speeds are. It also provides information on latency.

The data help give users a peek under the hood of the networks they subscribe to and allow them to see if their providers are giving the speeds and quality they promised. The applications are part of the FCC's national broadband plan, to be presented next Tuesday, to provide affordable and accessible broadband to all Americans.

There are numerous speed testing sites out there. But this is the first time a federal agency has offered its service to help it collect data. That data will likely be used to inform policies, such as consumer protections and disclosure rules for broadband users.

By Cecilia Kang  |  March 11, 2010; 2:43 PM ET
Categories:  Broadband , FCC  
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Ms. Kang, as usual, fail to mention the Google connection here. The development of one of the two tests, the "Measurement Labs" test, was sponsored by Google, and it rates the quality of the connection based on the ISP's connectivity to Google! This makes it anything but an unbiased test. But Ms. Kang does not mention this. Why? Could it be because her reporting is uniformly biased toward Google? Or because Google supplies ads that appear in her blog and it thus a major source of its advertising revenue? Why does Ms. Kang not disclose this conflict of interest in her articles or in her blog? Hmmm.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | March 11, 2010 5:42 PM | Report abuse

If Brett Glass could read, he would be able to understand that has TWO DIFFERENT TEST TYPES, Ookla and M-Labs.

And if Brett didn't reside in the world of the Clockwork Orange, he would understand that M-LABS is a collaborative effort, particularly by several universities, Amazon Web Services, and BITTORRENT. By the way, M-LABS is an open-platform too, something I would suspect Brett would be in support of..

Get a clue, stop being a troll.

Posted by: ryangee | March 11, 2010 7:57 PM | Report abuse

If Mr. "ryangee" had read what I wrote, he might understand that both tests have biases toward Google. An analysis of the Ookla program's traffic shows that it tests speeds by attempting to access Google-owned sites, thus basing its results on the speed with which a user's computer can access Google. "M-Labs" is an effort controlled and funded by Google, as can be seen at (note that the New America Foundation is a DC "think tank" that is owned and operated by Google; its chairman is Google CEO Eric Schmidt). The universities also receive funds from Google. And BitTorrent, Inc. lobbies with Google for "network neutrality" regulation, which would cement Google's monopoly, raise the price of Internet service, choke innovation, and destroy jobs. And now you know... as they say... the rest of the story. Or some of the rest, at any rate.

Posted by: LBrettGlass | March 11, 2010 10:04 PM | Report abuse

Good for the FCC. I don't see how this is biased toward Google. Google is not an Internet service provider. It is just a host for large fast servers. Good end points for testing speeds to.

Google does favor network neutrality. Sounds like LBrettGlass just has an interest in tiered pricing to Internet access. AT&T must be pleased with his grassroots trolling on their behalf.

Posted by: deben1999 | March 11, 2010 10:35 PM | Report abuse

I get an order of magnitude difference in results depending on which test I use. Neither set of results make sense.

I usually use the speed test at It makes sense. But, I now notice an Ookla logo on the site. Oh well.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | March 12, 2010 12:21 AM | Report abuse

Why are we constantly bowing down to the the latest, shiny, worthless technology?
Fat kids, fat adults with all kinds of medical conditions will welcome faster Internet because we've become a nation of lazy people. '2 seconds?' to long to wait. During the cold war we were called decadent by the Soviets over and over. They were and are absolutely right.

Posted by: n7uno | March 12, 2010 5:05 AM | Report abuse

But do I want to give the 'gummint' my personal information just to run a test that, Speakeasy, PCPitstop and hundreds of other site have to test my speed, without any of them needing to know my physical address?? I think not!!

And with typical 'gummint' stupidity, only US ZIP codes are accepted, even though the drop down list has foreign areas on it.... Damn, don't you just love 'gummint' stupidity??

Posted by: joeblotnik49 | March 12, 2010 7:58 AM | Report abuse

Hey, if you're gonna review a Web site why not provide a link to the site?

Posted by: maricaibo | March 12, 2010 7:59 AM | Report abuse

I just checked out the site and the broadband test. They want my address. NOT A CHANCE!
It is none of their business.

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Posted by: pizzz | March 12, 2010 8:34 AM | Report abuse

Brett Glass - Use the free Firefox and the free AdBlock Plus add-on and simply block all those ads. Speeds up your browsing experience too as you are not waiting for the doubleclick server to fill in the ads on each page load. And why shouldn't WP accept Google ads as a source of revenue so the online access remains free?

Using Google servers at least produces fairly reliable results on a statistical basis given their large footprint, use of Akamai to distribute server loading - in effect it normalizes testing so that you can compare comcast in dc to verizon in virginia.

Posted by: rogernebel | March 12, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

The "foreign" sites are all US protectorates and have US zip codes. You must have slept through your HS geography course.

It does not test your honesty on the address so you can put any address you want in there. Of course putting in real data helps them. For example, I put in North Pole, Alaska while I was at work in DC and it worked just fine.

For what it's worth OOKLA and M-Labs gave essentially the same result and correctly reported our 10 meg connection here at work. I've been using the free OOKLA on my iPhone to test the redundant connections I have at home (Comcast and Verizon load balanced by a Nexland ISB Pro I bought off of ebay for $50) and other than the occasional slow downs at peak times in my residential area I pretty much get what was advertised.

Posted by: rogernebel | March 12, 2010 9:20 AM | Report abuse

hostility in comment about speed-tests?

Wow. Some guys need a little get-away from their stressed out tech lives.

As a consumer issue, it makes sense that the consumer get truth in advertising - speed lies have pretty much contaminated what should be a straightforward data item. How fast is your product?

Posted by: rowens1 | March 12, 2010 9:27 AM | Report abuse

I commend the FCC for the initiative, and expect them to improve. Fault-finders need to relax. Since when was a software/systeml perfect in its' first release?

Posted by: bstaud | March 12, 2010 12:30 PM | Report abuse

yeah, amazing, we have 'anti-gummit' trolls here too. Why am I surprised.

Listen up, n7uno, that thinks we are so lazy that 2 seconds will make a difference.

We need to know what your upload speed is. Why? We do videoconferencing.

Duh, whad does 'at mean?

We can allow you to work from home, or from the nearest Fedex/Kinko's, as long as you have sufficient upload bandwidth for the video.

That means less wear 'n tear on your car
less money spent on gas
Less pollution in teh airways
Less (&$%#^*( drivers on the roads
Less time wasted in commuting.

That is why 2 seconds make a difference, MORON.

I have more news: Your ISP may tell you that you have 20 mb download speed.
They DON'T tell you your upload, and they DON'T deliver on what they promised you would have, if you would just pay ....

Posted by: taroya | March 12, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Brett Glass, aka Clockwork Orange.. what does it really matter whether or not Google has anything to do with it? 98% of the American public won't use a site like Hell, I'd love to see how many people have ever accessed

I agree that a government website should be impartial, however, using those two words in the same sentence is like committing an act of treason in the USA. Look around, whoever pays the most money (Google, of course, and the other incumbents such as ATT, Verizon, Comcrap, Time Warner) gets their influence. It just so happens that one of them is on the other side of the coin.

Get a grip on your life, it's not the END OF THE WORLD if a website uses some sort of Google tech.

Posted by: ryangee | March 12, 2010 7:05 PM | Report abuse was supposed to be .gov. However, both still have the same number of visitors..

Posted by: ryangee | March 12, 2010 7:06 PM | Report abuse

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