Did you get the Internet speed you paid for? Most of us don’t know the answer to that question — and that’s an issue given the number of business users, like myself, who work from home. The Internet access speed we experience may be insufficient, especially for high-quality video recording and video conferencing.
This makes for a high level of interest in measuring Internet access speed performance. I searched Google and found 238 academic articles and papers dealing with the study and measurements of Internet access speeds.
Measuring Broadband America
Do You Get What You Pay For?
Bias may be introduced because the FCC notifies providers which customers will participate in the speed tests. Providers can then prioritize those customers, giving their homes better service and increasing performance during the FCC speed-testing period, according to the WSJ article.
A few years ago Comcast increased speeds in some regions without notifying the FCC, for example. This increased its scores. It was reported in the WSJ article that the FCC discovered the speed changes after spotting strange data and had to adjust the measurements reported.
Watch for the Exemptions
In some cases, providers have persuaded the FCC to remove unfavorable data. The providers claimed that poor scores are the result of faulty equipment. They argued to exclude heavy days of traffic that lowered scores. Examples of heavy traffic exclusions are during football games or software updates. These exclusions are not always stated in the FCC report, according to the WSJ article.
Some experts not associated with the FCC or providers believe such exemptions should not have been allowed because they obscured customers’ actual experiences. A traffic congestion event happened when Netflix and Cogent, Internet middleman network, fought over which company should pay for upgraded connections to reduce congestion. This event was considered outside the scope of the FCC report, according to the WSJ article.
ISPs use the FCC report as a marketing tool to convince potential subscribers that they provide faster access than competitors. So ensuring that the reported access speeds are high can alter a provider’s marketing success.
Run Your Own Speed Test
Can I believe any of them?