Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Ways the US is Capitalizing on Internet Technologies

While some argue that the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has no authority to regulate broadband, they have taken it upon themselves to do it anyway. They conducted the first nationwide performance study on whether internet speeds provided by ISP’s (internet service providers) actually live up to those advertised. The taxpayer funded study conducted from February to June 2011 examined 13 of the largest wireline broadband providers and measured the performance delivered to the homes of thousands of volunteers. Wireless broadband internet providers were not included in this study.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski held a small press conference at a Best Buy in a Washington D.C. suburb to release the findings of this study in a report entitled “Measuring Broadband America.” According to the report, the majority of the ISP’s studied provide internet speeds of 80 percent or higher compared to those advertised. Apparently that’s close enough for the government, but is 80 percent of advertised speeds adequate for consumers? When you consider that 80 percent of broadband customers surveyed by the FCC don’t even know what internet speed they have, perhaps it is.

Of the 13 ISP’s studied, Comcast fared pretty well while Cablevision’s performance showed a steep decline in speeds during peak user time. The report also showed the difference between technologies offered by providers. Fiber optic technology performed up to 114 percent of advertised speed, cable came in second at 93 percent and DSL was a distant third at 82 percent. While Verizon can boast about its great performance with FIOS, its DSL service may be considered less than adequate.

The findings published in this report has now prompted organizations like the Open Technology Initiative to demand that policy makers move swiftly to enact “truth in billing” rules for broadband internet providers. They also feel there should be a mandate for ISP’s to adopt a guaranteed minimum speed to consumers.

The report doesn’t include the amount of Federal tax dollars used to conduct this study or where it gets the authority to have the study commissioned. Suffice it to say that an assessment was made regarding speeds promised by broadband providers that none of their customers requested and 80 percent of those consumers could care less about the results. Not to mention that this same report has now instigated requests for further regulation and reporting requirements on the broadband providers.

Perhaps the measuring broadband report is a feather in the cap of FCC Chairman Genachowski. Rumor has it that his acrimonious tenure at the FCC may be coming to a close with his name being floated as a possible successor to Gary Locke as Secretary of Commerce. The ceremonial Commerce Secretary position would be quite a nice promotion for the net-neutrality advocate.

Taken From My ISP Finder

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