Giving the Broadband Census

by Doc Searls

Drew Clark's Broadband Census is a worthy effort: find out what Internet connection speeds people actually get, vs. what's promised.

You provide some details about where you're connecting, and what you're supposed to be getting from your carrier. Then you take a speed test. I just did that here in my Boston apartment. Verizon FiOS promises 20Mb both upstream and down. Here are my results:

TCP/Web100 Network Diagnostic Tool v5.5.4
click START to begin

** Starting test 1 of 1 **
Connected to: ndt.anl.gov -- Using IPv4 address
Checking for Middleboxes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Done
checking for firewalls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Done
running 10s outbound test (client-to-server [C2S]) . . . . . 19.20Mb/s
running 10s inbound test (server-to-client [S2C]) . . . . . . 19.02Mb/s
The slowest link in the end-to-end path is a 45 Mbps T3/DS3 subnet

Close enough. Those are also the speeds I get when I check through http://speedtest.vonage.net, which I find more reliable, in more places, than any other speedtest I've tried. (Be curious to know how they do that.)

What I'd like the census to also do, if possible, is look for restrictions by carriers. Port blockages and usage caps, for example. Can't test for those, but I'd still like to find out.

It's also interesting to me that a census is usually characterized as something the government takes. In this twist, citizens give the census.

Anyway, I'm curious to see what other readers get, and if you're interested in getting involved. Says at that last link,

BroadbandCensus.com is committed to providing the public with a detailed and accurate collection of information about broadband Internet availability, competition, speeds and prices. BroadbandCensus.com invites you to participate in this effort.

Drew is looking for technical, research and outreach committee members. I would think we have a few candidates here.