updated 05:32 pm EDT, Thu September 6, 2012
Open meeting scheduled September 21, methodology to be discussed
Expanding a service already in place monitoring traditional wired broadband promises and performance, the US Federal Communications Commission has announced a program to monitor performance of wireless Internet service using actual data collected by volunteers. An open meeting is scheduled for September 21 at the FCC headquarters to discuss the proposal to start a program that will "develop information on mobile broadband service performance in the United States utilizing the collaborative model underlying the success of its fixed broadband program."
The existing program overseeing home and business high-speed Internet access is dependent on volunteers who offer to have an additional broadband source installed in their home or office with a dedicated router and computer continuously collecting data on the quality of service offered. The service is installed at no cost to the tester. The additional connection is not allowed to be used by the tester for any reason.
Negative reports from the study are periodically made public. Internet provider Cablevision was named in a previous report from 2011, and cited the findings as an impetus for change in its throttling policies. The August 2011 report demonstrated that DSL consistently disappointed with 82 percent of advertised downstream speed during heaviest use periods, with cable giving 93 percent, and 113 percent delivered by fiber to a user's premises.
CTIA and other major wireless carriers have already agreed to cooperate with the FTC to implement the program. At the September 21 meeting, FCC staff will discuss the technical methods of testing wireless Internet service, and other considerations involved with the data collection.