Test My ISP

Test My ISP is a new program from the FCC to measure the speeds people are getting from their ISPs:

Together, the FCC and Samknows are setting out to provide US consumers with reliable and accurate statistics of their broadband connections. If you are interested in using one of our units to measure your home broadband connection, then please sign up below. You will get to play a part in changing the face of the American broadband industry and you also get a free high-speed wireless router!

I think it’s great they’re doing something like this. My AT&T DSL connection never goes 6 Mbps, which is what I’m paying for (and want). However, it probably won’t be hard for the smart folks at these ISPs to figure out where these devices are, what kind of traffic they generate, and how to make the traffic high-priority. Especially since every big ISP probably has someone signing up for one of these devices right now. “Evil will always win, because good is dumb.”

6 thoughts on “Test My ISP”

  1. No, I’m not talking about that at all.

    I’m saying that you need to accept the fact that you live somewhere between the distance from the CO where you can get 3 Mbps and 6 Mbps. In much the same way that you fall short of the distance to your wireless router where you can get 54 Mbps.

    You’re paying for “up to 6 Mbps and more than 3 Mbps”. And more to the point, you’re paying what, $40 a month? $50? That kind of money doesn’t really entitle you to anything beyond a connection that works most of the time, where anything above 95% uptime is acceptable, but there’s no contractual agreement that states otherwise. You of all people should know what “SLA” really means.

    It’s worth noting that AT&T probably has more than enough bandwidth beyond the “last mile” copper line to your house to provide for all of its customers, even at peak times. That kind of technology is dirt cheap these days, but providing ADSL is just as expensive as it was in 1998, all thanks to that last mile. And replacing that last mile (which can be up to about 3 miles) with something better would cost somewhere in the neighbourhood of $20,000 per mile. At best.

  2. My original comment should have specified that I’d like to get 6 Mbps down sometime when I’m home.

    I have the day off today, so I was able to use broadband.gov to measure my connection as 5284 kbps down, 636 kbps up, at 1:30 PM. Last night at 7:30 PM it was 2145 kbps down/494 kbps up. I measure it fairly frequently, and multiple times to account for anomalies. These numbers are typical, and speaks to oversubscription on the backend, which does not surprise me.

    Based on my line attenuation I am somewhere just under 10000 feet from the CO. There are various calculators for this and a bunch of information linked off of http://whirlpool.net.au/wiki/?tag=DSLAM_speeds and they appear to be plausible, given that I know where my CO is from conversations with AT&T techs. My signal-to-noise is relatively high, and I should be capable of at least 8 Mbps.

    Personally, I do believe you are talking about some fictional place that has no relation to where I live, and some idealized version of AT&T that doesn’t reflect reality. Despite your insistence otherwise, I do not need to accept the fact that while I am paying for “more than 3 Mbps and less than 6” I am not receiving more than 3 Mbps during large portions of the day. Furthermore, my definition of “a connection that works most of the time” includes working at the rates that I am paying for. Which is why I support the governmental efforts to police these carriers.

  3. Stop bitching, half the US doesn’t get broadband internet, and a large majority is stuck with a Cable provider monopoly. Charter was charging me 80$ a month for 3mbs I was getting roughly 1mbs. It sucks, to pay that much, when they advertise it for 29.95, it also sucks that .5 miles from my house, there is no cable.

  4. I believe you’re complaining about the same things I am. I am sorry to hear your broadband options are limited, but you do have a choice as to where you live. Perhaps you could stop your own whining and complaining, complain to Charter or the FCC instead, and/or choose to live somewhere that has better options.

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