FCC Wants 10,000 Broadband Survey Participants

A recent study by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) showed that 80 percent of broadband users in the U.S. don't know the transmission speed of their connection.

The telephone survey, which ran for two weeks in mid-April, found that among the 3,000 participants ignorance may be bliss, as more than 90 percent expressed satisfaction with the speed of their broadband hookup at home, a sentiment also expressed in 71 percent of responses for a similar question about mobile access.

Now the FCC wants to conduct a widespread survey to determine actual broadband speeds both in U.S. homes and for mobile connections. This latest volley follows a beta program the agency conducted last March to assess broadband quality.

Now the FCC wants more scientific data, officials said. The agency is publicly soliciting for 10,000 volunteers to install special hardware in their homes that will measure the performance of major ISPs in a variety of geographic regions across the country.

Consumers may register for the test at www.TestMyISP.com.

Results comparing actual broadband speeds with those advertised by ISPs will be included with other findings in a report released by the FCC later this year.

In addition, the FCC has issued a public notice looking for input on how to accurately measure mobile broadband speed, including how such measurements can be used to improve service and the kinds of information users should have about the speed of mobile broadband coverage.

Comments can be filed at the FCC's electronic comment filing system: www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs.

The agency said that ultimately it wants to develop tests to enable consumers to determine the actual speed of broadband transmission as an aid to choose the proper service provider.

"Better information can help all consumers choose the broadband services that best meet their needs," said Joel Gurin, chief of the FCC's Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau.

"Today, most people just know that their home broadband speed is supposed to be blazing fast," Gurin said. "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."


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