Federal Communications Commission, 80% of Internet users in the U.S. don't know the advertised speed of their home Internet connections (PDF). A quarter of respondents thought that they were always getting the advertised speed their ISPs promised them, even though they did now know what speeds to expect.According to a new survey commissioned by the
In order to get reliable statistics about the actual speeds that consumers are getting from the ISPs, the FCC announced a new initiative today that will place broadband speed measurement devices in the homes of 10,000 volunteers.
If you would like to be one of these volunteers (and you live in the U.S.), you can sign up here.
"Most people just know that their home broadband speed is supposed to be 'blazing fast.' They need more meaningful information to know exactly what speed they need for the applications they want to run, and what provider and plan is their best choice."
- Joel Gurin, chief of the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau of the FCC
Measuring Broadband Speeds
To conduct this study, the FCC has partnered with SamKnows, a U.K.-based company that conducted a very similar study in Great Britain. Earlier this year, the FCC also launched Broadband.gov, a consumer-oriented site that features a set of broadband speed tests. With this new initiative, the FCC is looking to "develop more scientific and consistent broadband speed measures."
According to SamKnows, the device will download no more than 2GB per month and participants will be able to monitor their results in a Web-based dashboard.
Next Step: Mobile Broadband
In addition to these initiatives - which will flow into a new "State of Broadband" report later this year - the FCC is also looking for public input (PDF) on the best ways to measure mobile broadband speeds. As more and more of our Internet experience is shifting to the mobile Web, it only makes sense for the FCC to start looking into the performance of these networks. After all, how often do you really get the speeds that your mobile provider advertises? According to the FCC survey, only 33% of mobile Internet users in the U.S. are "very satisfied" with the speed of their mobile Internet connection.