As we've been covering
, the FCC is finally taking this whole "data and science" thing somewhat seriously, and is working on tools and data collection methods that will give them a much better idea of actual consumer broadband speeds. The idea, of course, is to use more accurate data to help influence the agency's policy decisions (go figure). In a new FCC blog post
, the agency says they've picked UK speed test gurus SamKnows (who help UK regulators track real world delivered speeds to end users). The FCC says they'll soon be looking for volunteers to help:
In a couple of weeks, we will be asking for consumers from across the country to voluntarily install hardware in their homes (on an opt-in basis) that is capable of measuring broadband performance. The measurements will give us results across a broad swath of providers, service tiers and geographic areas. More details on how to volunteer will follow in the coming weeks. We are tremendously excited about this announcement, the next step in the process of increasing transparency and competition in the broadband market and better informing consumers about their broadband service.
The SamKnows website
has only a tiny bit of additional detail on the "specially developed 'White Box'" they plan to use in consumer homes to see if users are getting what they pay for. If the photo selection on their website is anything to go by, the FCC and SamKnows will be using one of the new Cisco Valet
residential routers for testing -- we assume using custom SamKnows-designed firmware. More technical specifics on the testing methodology should be forthcoming shortly, as the FCC says they plan to release a Public Notice "in the coming days."
Given the FCC has spent the last ten years just kind of guessing
about the state of U.S. broadband before proceeding to make massive, sweeping policy changes, it's great to see them really trying to focus on real science and data collection.