The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is getting plenty serious about the Internet. Besides striking a stance in favor of net neutrality, the FCC feels that the quasi-monopolies that dominate the industry should be more responsive to their customers. And to help you keep an eye on your ISP , the FCC has rolled out www.broadband.gov , which will let you check your broadband speeds.
Yeah, yeah, yeah--this is nothing new. Many of the major ISPs offer something like this, as do a number of independents, like SpeedTest.net But the FCC’s effort is a bit different. The FCC would like you to anonymously provide your address (How can that be anonymous?), which the FCC will use to compile a “Broadband Dead Zone” report. If you feel uncomfortable about ratting out your ISP to the government, just keep in mind your ISP doesn’t share your guilt when it comes to ratting you out.
What’s fun, though, is Marguerite Reardon’s testing of her broadband connection, and her resulting conversation with her ISP, Time Warner Cable. Using both a Dell laptop and an Apple MacBook, she never got close to the 10Mbps download speed Time Warner promises. When asked about this, a Time Warner service rep said 10Mbps wasn’t guaranteed, that speeds “can go up to 10Mbps.” And you know what, he’s right, that’s exactly what Time Warner says on its web site.
Which of course means that Time Warner can just as easily promise speeds up to 100Mbps, while still delivering the sub-7Mbps Reardon was registering. Perhaps it might be a good idea to rat out our ISPs.
Image Credit: Time Warner Cable