Broadband performance testing volunteers sought by FCC

The FCC said Feb. 17, 2012, that it is looking for consumers from around the country to volunteer for its second round of testing to measure broadband performance throughout the United States.

This year’s testing follows the initial “Measuring Broadband America Report” that looked at the service offerings of 13 wireline broadband providers to measure speed and performance of broadband services delivered to the home.

This year, the commission will put together a pair of reports measuring broadband. The first is due to begin next month. It will expand on last year’s study to include more technologies and look at service in new regions. A public notice announcing this year’s effort did not provide details about the second round of testing.

The commission wants the help of consumers who volunteer to provide real data upon which to evaluate ISP broadband performance claims. Volunteers will receive a free wireless router that will be programmed to measure broadband speeds delivered to the home and detailed reports on the performance of their broadband service.

The inaugural report on broadband performance was conducted with the assistance of thousands of volunteers in March 2011. The report based on data collected during that performance testing established that the majority of service providers were delivering performance approaching or exceeding the levels they advertised to their customers. It also identified Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that fell short of advertised speeds.

Consumers wishing to volunteer to help with this year’s effort can learn more on the FCC website.