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150,000 take FCC broadband speed test in first week
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 19 March 2010 17:36

From Ars Technica

The FCC has had it with ISPs. For more than a decade, the agency has relied on ISP reports to get a picture of broadband speeds and availability in the US, and the results have been uniformly terrible. The ISPs don't want to report numbers detailed enough to be useful, so the feds finally dropped a pile of cash on the table last year to do some proper broadband mapping.

Last week, the FCC went a step further, rolling out tools for Android, the iPhone, and the Web that enable users to test—and, crucially, to report—their broadband speeds. In addition, it decided to fund a third-party measurement company that will use hardware devices to test actual line speeds in tens of thousands of US homes. It's all about the data, and the FCC is determined to get it one way or another.

In the last seven days, 150,000 people have used the Web testing service. The results aren't scientific, of course; there was no random sampling and the two test platforms both function in different ways. But the results do show some general trends in US broadband.

First, average download speeds. According to the Ookla test platform, average US speeds are 11.5Mbps; according to the M-Lab platform, they are 7.04Mbps. Those average numbers are certainly helped by high-speed 50Mbps connections from some cable and FiOS customers. When we look at the median, the numbers are lower; according to M-Lab half of all people using the test had under 4Mbps of download capacity, probably implying that most are on DSL.

Upload averages are much slower, at 2.09 Mbps and 2.74Mbps, respectively; the median is around 1Mbps.

Mapping the data shows that the west coast has higher speeds, as one might expect. Minnesota and Georgia do surprisingly well, though with only 5,000 to 12,000 tests run in each of those states, we shouldn't read too much into the map.   [More...] [Comments...]



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