Move from "advertised" to "actual" speeds

I recommend that we move from measuring broadband performance (download and upload speeds) from "advertised" performance an ISP provides an end-user to "actual" performance at PEAK times that an ISP provides an end-user. While the end-users' true performance will vary based on a number of other issues (back-end connections, devices, etc) there are methods today to accurately track and measure the "actual" performance, and the marketplace will come up with new variations to meet demand.


Submitted by Unsubscribed User

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Similar Ideas [ 5 ]


  1. Comment
    Unsubscribed User ( Idea Submitter )

    In American Samoa we have "advertised" speeds, which are below the FCC's 768k, residential cap is at 256kbps. With my internet provider I get around 100kbps to 200kbps on a good day.

    However, how would you capture the 'actual' speed the end user receives, without gathering data?

  2. Comment

    That's not an easy task, given that actual speeds vary so much, even acoording to the busyness of the specific Internet server you might be trying to access at any given moment. I think that the theoretical max speed, or advertized speed, is important too, though. It determines whether your individual connection is good enough. The ISP will typically keep upgrading his network over time, to better fill your "last mile" broadband pipe.

    As of now, if you want to benefit from streaming media, I think 1.5 Mb/s downstream is almost required. The problem is, over time, file sizes go up, and streaming media quality goes up, all of which creates an inflation in what we consider "broadband." You know, just like the size of hard drives in PCs.

  3. Comment
    Unsubscribed User ( Idea Submitter )


    where i live, i'm not worried about speed, i just want more choices.

    i have cable but, the telcos and cellcos have forgotten we exist here.

    i would kill to have more fire in the wire and more fire in the air.

    my zipcode is 38221

  4. Comment

    If this were any other industry the companies would be hung out to dry for 'advertised speeds'. They play nasty tricks to make speed tests perform better than actual transfer speeds; continue to argue against the need for actual 'broadband' deployment, and i still pay their astronomically high prices. Looking for an alternative provider? Good luck! Most urban areas have a monopoly. If you aren't subscribed to one giant powerhouse that offers the worst customer service, then it's the other provider whose internet services is sub-par. The internet needs to be a municipal service like power - OR provide better alternatives for companies that are interested in laying infrastructure, not more red tape.

  5. Comment

    It sucks that my ISP tells me the maximum bandwidth to their location. I don't care what that is. They should tell me what is my guaranteed bandwidth to Fox News, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, AOL and the New York Times.

    It doesn't matter that IP is a 'best effort' service. Telcos and ISPs ought to treat it like a circuit and guarantee bandwidth. I know it will cost more, but I demand our rights.

    People shouldn't be able to buy 'best effort' service and ride along cheaply on my broadband. Pay for your own bits people, don't mooch off me.

    We consumers aren't smart enough to understand "UP TO" bandwidth. (We also don't know why the speedometer in our car goes up to 120 mph when the fastest we can go on a residential street is 110 miles per hour.) Every Internet plan should state "THERE IS NO GUARANTEED BANDWIDTH. YOU GET WHAT YOU GET UP TO A MAXIMUM OF..." Until, of course, we get our dedicated circuit Internet guaranteed service levels.

  6. Comment

    I voted it down simply because there is no credible way to post "actual" speeds, when they will vary depending to which site the user goes. The link speed advertized is instead between the user equipment and the ISP's end of the link.

    Also, the entire Internet Protocol suite is BASED on the notion of shared bandiwdth. That's what makes it work. That's what makes it possible for millions of people to be on line to sites all over the world with such high bit rates, with no time limits, at such affordable prices. Guaranteed bandwidth is like the telephone system. It has to cost more, because the user has to be given a strong incentive to get off and leave room for others.

    To provide broadband service to everyone at guaranteed rates would mandate an enormous amount of overcapacity to be provisioned. Not just in the network, but also at each of the servers. That's hardly a smart idea.

  7. Comment

    I really hate car analogies, but look at it this way: GM/Ford/etc. sells you a car that says 100 MPH on the speedo, and the highway dept has speed limits of say, 65 MPH.

    We are paying for both of these things (car and highway), so we should start griping that we're not getting everything we paid for when rush hour/weather/darkness/accident or other factor slows our progress to 45, 35, or even 20 MPH?

    Sure, we can scream loudly about the perceived need for more traffic lanes to relieve the congestion, but the investment required to do that to relieve sporadic slowdowns is not justified in view of the overall usage and revenue available. I guess if everyone were willing to endure a significant cost (tax) increase to fund the expansion, that would be OK, but there comes a point where it's cost-prohibitive to go that direction.

    In other words, you are accessing what is ultimately at some point in the connectivity chain, a shared resource. The cost to provide a single customer with a dedicated (unshared) link/line is far beyond what the average consumer is willing to pay (can you say $350-$700 per month, or more depending on your location for a dedicated T-1, 1.5Mbps line?)

    This is why the ISP gives you the "up to" figure. Whe traffic is not maxed out you should get most, if not all of that speed. At other times, depending on conditions, (contending traffic, routing breakdowns, repeater signal issues, etc., only some of whice are within the control of the ISP), your mileage (speed) may vary. They're not trying to be deceptive, simply dealing with reality. Every ISP's service agreement that I've seen has specified that the stated speeds are maximums, and that variability in these speeds is normal, expected, and generally unavoidable.

    Don't like it? Go get your own T-1, if you can afford it. Myself, I'll live in the real world and deal with it.

  8. Comment

    We have already payed for said infrastructure. It's not a matter of technical limit - it's a matter of profit. Yes a t-1 line costs $350.00 plus a line, yet other countries receive that same service for minimal costs because the infrastructure was developed properly. Now they sell people '16 mb' lines that hardly connect at 1mb. Shared bandwidth is the nature of a network - continued false advertising isn't.

    You can continue to make excuses on telecoms behalf but without proper investment other countries will have a network that dwarfs ours that's exponentially more efficient, secure, and able to handle the growing demand.

    More people want access, more people need access. Broadband and technology are some of the few things that's provided the US with recent growth - stop making excuses and provide the infrastructure. If they don't build it, I will.

  9. Comment

    Nobody's standing in your way. Go for it, and let us know how it works out for you.

    BTW, I own and operate a rural ISP, and am intimately familiar with the cost/benefit calculations necessary to make it work. Calling the practices "false advertising", in light of the actual service agreements you agree to when subscribing to a service, simply demonstrates a willful ignorance of reality.

    Good luck.

  10. Comment

    "Willful ignorance of reality" - or - no choice. Your knowledge of the subject surpasses mine but i am interested as to what network you provide your service over. I have heard the 'wholesale' cost of network use negates profits preventing many small players from competing. Between costs and red tape laying your own infrastructure is impossible.

    Geographic location is one of the largest factors - in California there's no justification for Sandvine; no justification for DNS re-directs; crafty packet handling. There's no excuse for my 400+ ms ping to San Jose. Use those technologies on someone who doesn't pay $90 a month. They can't even provide me proper customer service!

    Especially when they don't provide the said broadband service that's touted. Now they wish to lower the definitions of broadband, change the scope reflecting better numbers AND tell me my 'up-to' speeds are covered under the definitions of law.

    We should be adopting and investing in technology so that we have something of worth, a wonder as to how we even accomplished said feat, to the next generations. I am willing to pay... or dig. The government is the appropriate body to take on the task.

  11. Comment

    I couldn't agree more! (This was actually one of my ideas I submitted to the FCC.) Look, it is simply this-advertised speeds aren't actual speeds! The telecom companies should be required to give you a range of speeds from the highest possible speed AT YOUR LOCATION to the lowest possible speed (or the peak time speed) AT YOUR LOCATION. Location is the key thing-you may live in a secluded area, or be the only one on your block with broadband, and so the bandwidth usage in that area is much less than bandwidth usage on a block were every one is constantly streaming movies.

  12. Comment

    There are a few posts that I think derive from the same consumer issue, which is how do you really compare service plans and know what you are really going to get.

    I agree with Alber, there are some complex challenges in coming up with a way to compare services. That said I think we do need a way to compare different providers and different plans.

    For example, you could get 100Mbps FTTH to the home, but this is a transmission rate, and not a throughput rate. The actual throughput over that 100Mbps connection could be very slow, depending on the ISP "backend" systems design and over-subscription/peak loads.

  13. Comment
    Community Member

    I completely agree with the original poster. I'm currently on the phone with Time Warner Cable over this issue. I pay $50+ a month for so-called 10 Mbps broadband. Yes, I do get 10 Mbps in the morning on a Sunday, but after 6 p.m. on any day of the week, it plummets to 1 Mbps or less. How can it be legal to advertise 10 Mbps and then actually deliver 10% of that when I actually have the time to use the internet? It's shameless, and Congress or the FCC needs to act to end this deceptive practice NOW.