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FCC Asks Volunteers: Are Cable Providers Lying About Speeds?

FCC Asks Volunteers: Are Cable Providers Lying About Speeds?

Jason Mick

June 02, 2010

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is in the midst of trying to deploy an unprecedented plan to provide a 100 Mbps public cable option to over 100 million American homes.  It plans to finance that ambitious plan by taking spectrum away from TV broadcasters and reselling it to wireless companies for use with devices like smartphones.  Part of the profits will go to the TV companies and part will go towards building a vast new fiber network across the U.S.

While it’s slowly working to achieve that plan, the FCC plans to continue to try to pressure cable providers to be more forthright about their data policies.  The FCC is currently enrolling 10,000 volunteers in a study to test if cable companies are lying about advertised speeds.

According to preliminary research, cable internet speeds on the average residential connection may only be half of the advertised rate.  But the FCC wants to make absolutely sure this is the case, and it wants to see which companies are guilty of this, before it takes action.

Joel Gurin, who heads the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau comments, “The big issue here is knowing what you are paying for.”

The FCC is pushing Congress to enact legislation that would force internet service providers to disclose complete information about their pricing and performance in a more transparent fashion.  The survey should help to justify that call for transparency.

A mobile internet survey may be in the works as well, but the FCC is still considering how best to implement it.  In the mean time if you want to help out in the cable survey, you can travel to the “TestMyISP” page here.

_© 2009, DailyTech.


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