As a part of the national broadband plan process, the FCC recently launched some broadband test tools, including a broadband speed test. “The purpose of the Consumer Broadband Test (Beta) is to give consumers additional information about the quality of their broadband connections and to create awareness about the importance of broadband quality in accessing content and services over the internet,” says the FCC.

The FCC broadband blog, Blogband, reveals some early results of the speed test tool. Over 300K broadband tests have been completed thus far, 87% of which have been home (as opposed to business) broadband connections. According to this data, the average download speed was 9.27 Mbps and the average upload speed was 2.83 Mbps. The FCC is quick to point out that this data is ‘unscientific’ and the program is still in beta phase. I’ve posted the ‘official results’ of our office location below, where we have a business DSL connection (not bad, I guess).

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The FCC also has a ‘Broadband Dead Zone’ tool where citizens can report locations that lack broadband access — no update on these dead zones yet. The FCC intends to use these tools to help support one of the goals of the broadband plan – better accuracy for advertised broadband speeds. It’s kind of a truth in advertising campaign, where the FCC wants broadband service providers to provide more accurate information about their true broadband speeds, not just the hypothetically fastest speed any given network might achieve under optimal conditions.

As an example, we’re beginning to see claims of 100 Mbps broadband offers. We all know that while that network may be able to achieve 100 Mbps, the typical throughput for customers on any given day will actually be much lower than that.

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6 thoughts on “FCC Provides Broadband Speed Test Data

  1. Good for them, even though most customers don't know the difference between 10 megs and 50 megs. Its confusing to customers. Puts a lot of strain on our CSRs.

  2. So let me get this straight, a broadband customer is supposed to have a realistic idea of their current broadband speed by using this test?

    A good idea in theory, but the reality is a telecommunications provider only has control over their network. While a broadband customer may have ideal speeds through that company’s network to an ISP hand-off point, this test puts them at the mercy of the rest of the traffic being routed across the Internet. So depending on router load, Internet traffic, or even traffic to broadband.gov, these results can be very skewed.

    Even though it’s Beta and ‘unscientific’, I still can’t help but think it will be taken as gospel..

  3. When this first came out, I immediately did speed tests on the FCC's site using both speed test "engines". While the download speeds were consistent across both platforms, my upload speeds consistently differed. For one speed test engine I'd get results of 6-8Mg/sec UPloads, while the other speed test engine consistently gave me speeds of 900k-1.4Mg/sec UPloads. Quite a difference between the two platforms!

    So which is correct? And if I have issues such as this, the average consumer (and dare I suggest FCC staffer) won't have a clue as to the inconsistencies.

    IMHO, speed tests tell us nothing..other than what speed the customer has subscribed to. It never tells what the AVAILABLE speeds are from the ISP in the customer's location. Noble effort, but it falls short again. (sigh)

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