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Global "Last Mile" Performance Stats Going Public 233

Posted by kdawson
from the last-shall-be-first dept.
Ookla, the company behind Speedtest.net, Pingtest.net, and the bandwidth testing apps deployed at many ISPs, has gone public with Net performance stats from 1.5 billion users (and counting). Their Net Index page displays download speed, upload speed, and connection "quality" from the EU and the G8, to countries, worldwide cities, and US states. Beginning today, the company is also making detailed (anonymized) data available to academics. "Ookla will also start surveying users about how much they pay for broadband and how much bandwidth they were promised by their ISPs. The results of those questions will go into building a Value Index, which will show how much people around the world pay per megabit-per-second for Internet access. In addition, by collecting postal codes from Speedtest users, Ookla hopes to map broadband service to local economic conditions, Apgar said. The Speedtest data could give the US government far more information to work with in setting priorities for its National Broadband Plan..."
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Global "Last Mile" Performance Stats Going Public

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  • Hmmmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by OrwellianLurker (1739950) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @05:29PM (#32341770)

    The Speedtest data could give the US government far more information to work with in setting priorities for its National Broadband Plan..."

    I wonder if we'll give away billions to ISPs without getting anything in return again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by corbettw (214229)

      Why should ISPs be held to a higher standard than automobile manufacturers, banks, insurance companies, the health care system, defense contractors, oil companies, mortgage brokers, Wall St financiers, and "family" farmers like ADM?

      • Re:Hmmmm... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @10:03PM (#32344120)
        That would be a false dilemma. They should all be held to higher standards than what they're held to presently. The reason they aren't is that right wing nutters cry ZOMG Washington elitzor controlling us whenever somebody proposes doing something about it. I swear this country has the worst blame the victim mentality of just about anywhere. What's worse is we actually have the things to actually fix it. But we won't because ZOMG Washington elitzors controlling us.
    • I wonder if we'll give away billions to ISPs without getting anything in return again.

      I wonder if the stats revealed by this survey will show that we shouldn't...
  • Moldova? (Score:2, Funny)

    by oldhack (1037484)
    What's the story there?
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Few have Internet there and the ones that do probably live in the capital city. It's easy to get a good index with one heavily wired city. It was only a few years ago that people in the villages didn't have inside plumbing. Considering the amount of people *leaving* those villages (and even the country), I doubt there is much reason to wire up the villages. Many villages do have cell access and the limitations that come with it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by interkin3tic (1469267)

      I'm more interested in Tanzania. I'm not quite sure what the scale on either direction is, but it looks like it's zero to... something... halfway through. What, did the first person in Tanzania get broadband in the middle of the month?

      Anyway, cheers to all of us for being ahead of North Korea. At the end of the day, when we think our country has thoroughly embarrassed and disappointed us, we can still usually say "At least we're not in North Korea."

      I mean, in some contexts. Having a deity for a dear lea

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by zill (1690130)

        I'm more interested in Tanzania. I'm not quite sure what the scale on either direction is, but it looks like it's zero to... something... halfway through. What, did the first person in Tanzania get broadband in the middle of the month?

        Must be one of those flights with on-board wifi passing through their airspace.

      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Xemu (50595)

        . Having a deity for a dear leader, for example, we're still trailing...

        Not very far. Mr Jobs is very close to ascending.

    • by T Murphy (1054674)
      They abbreviate Moldova 'MD'- they probably included D.C. with Maryland, then mixed up the abbreviations.

      Seriously, though, they shouldn't use 2-letter abbreviations for both states and countries. Just say US/USA or both US and the state postal code.
  • by Miros (734652) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @05:32PM (#32341812)
    US is not in the top 10, couple of cities in the top 50 of those for download, none in upload? Is the USA really that far behind the curve, or is there another explanation?
    • by drachenstern (160456) <drachenstern@gmail.com> on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @05:36PM (#32341872) Journal

      It's been my experience from various locales that the US really is that far behind the curve. I've friends around the world and when we discuss speeds/cost they seem amazed if they've never heard our rates before. Rather pathetic at times. Ah well, life goes on.

      Just remember, if this is what we have to complain about, are we doing so poorly? There are people around the world with no house at this very moment, due to lack of sufficient infrastructure, and our complaint is "my intertubes is too slows!"...

      • by not flu (1169973) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @05:50PM (#32342044)
        I was under the impression that there were people in the US with no house, too.
        • I rather meant "ours" to mean /.ers ... There are plenty of people not from the US on /. as well, and they'll likely have the same complaint if they're worried about data rates compared to global/country averages...

          • So you're comparing apples and oranges? By your own admission, you were referring to /.'ers (who presumably all have houses), and yet you're trying to draw comparisons to homeless people?
            • No, I'm not comparing apples and oranges, I'm saying the "woe is me" attitude shouldn't be tolerated.

              Also, I'm saying that we should demand corporate reform. But that doesn't fit with my first comment. It does with yours. See some of my post history for cases where I rant on and on about how fucked the western world is due to our reliance on corporate power. It's truly going to take us all down (hell, BP's trying to poison us...).

      • by tsm_sf (545316)
        Just remember, if this is what we have to complain about, are we doing so poorly? There are people around the world with no house at this very moment, due to lack of sufficient infrastructure, and our complaint is "my intertubes is too slows!"...

        There's nothing wrong with being thankful for what you have while working towards something better.
      • by T Murphy (1054674)
        Talk about messed up priorities. Insufficient means to build a house is unfortunate, but $60/mo for spotty, 2nd grade broadband is criminal!
      • by twoallbeefpatties (615632) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:30PM (#32342426)
        The U.S. generally considers itself to be technologically advanced compared to other nations and believes that it helps to drive our economy and keep people in their houses. If it were to turn out that we actually aren't the best in the world at technological issues... well, actually, we'll probably just deny it and say that we are and whine about our lack of population density making it hard to build more infrastructure.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drachenstern (160456)

          hehe, I actually thought it was by now well established that we're rather skewered on our technical prowess. We just happen to have a lot of servers in this country (so greater proportion of the internet than we deserve?), and we can play with the global monetary system since we control Wall Street. Otherwise, I see other countries out innovate us all the time. I'm rather afraid of our position slipping to number 6 or 15 or something globally before I retire (many years away).

          Oh and I should mention that it

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            Oh and I should mention that it's our lack of population density that ... ;)

            If there is a Discussion of U.S. Internet Drinking Game, rule #1 is, "Every time someone says the words 'population density,' take a shot."
        • by EdIII (1114411) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:53PM (#32343726)

          we'll probably just deny it and say that we are and whine about our lack of population density making it hard to build more infrastructure.

          What part about that is untrue though?

          People love to bring up Japan and South Korea and how fast their infrastructure is, but I don't see why it is not valid to bring up the disparities in size and population density.

          South Korea is about the size of Kentucky with much higher population density and Japan is 90% of the size of California with roughly about %50 more population density.

          Our Internet here is made up a number of competing telecoms and transit/peering agreements work great..... but when you have to keep putting fiber runs that are longer than the entire countries of South Korea and Japan why is it any big surprise that bandwidth costs more in the US?

          I think it is just a fact that in order to connect up our urban areas with fiber to each other we have to make significantly longer runs to pull it off with less potential sources of revenue per mile of fiber than countries that are apparently "better than us".

          It's not about national pride or some ego competition here. I just think you can't compare the US with other countries on a 1:1 basis. Especially when in some countries they are already started out with the new technology.

          I think for what we have to work with we are doing pretty damn good. Our big problems stem from corruption, lack of competition, and Big Media trying to own the pipes and the content being pushed on it.

          Even if all of "that" was fixed tomorrow we would still be faced with huge fiber runs all across the country that need to be made in order to keep up with demand.

          Internet is not just the only issue either. The fragile state of our Interstates and bridges also has size and density a factor in them too. I am much less impressed with Germany having an awesome Autobahn system given their size compared to us. Now if the US had an Autobahn system? Wow.

          • What? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ratboy666 (104074) <fred_weigel AT hotmail DOT com> on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @09:29PM (#32343964) Homepage Journal

            I keep having that reaction... Did you not READ the fine article?

            The speed test is pretty much "point to point". In my neighbourhood, it is between Scarborough Ontario and Markham Ontario (Canada).

            The speed tester automatically picks the nearest server for you, even.

            So, it DOESN'T MATTER HOW BIG THE COUNTRY IS. Peering arrangements shouldn't be coming into it either.

            By all that is holy, I would expect San Jose to have some damn fine speeds.

            I am embarrassed that the Scarborough speeds are so slow.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by EdIII (1114411)

              I keep having that reaction... Did you not READ the fine article?

              Just what website do you think this is?

              So, it DOESN'T MATTER HOW BIG THE COUNTRY IS. Peering arrangements shouldn't be coming into it either.

              If we are talking point to point, then yes you are correct. However, if that were really true than broadband companies would be lying to us and screwing us over. That clearly can't be true, so you must be wrong.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by $pace6host (865145)
              When I tried it, it misidentified my ISP, picked a server ~20 miles away, but only reported half the speed that dslreports.com shows when testing from a server 100 miles away (and the speed I get from dslreports.com is close to what I see when downloading files). I think maybe when it misidentifies the ISP, peering arrangements might come into play. I wonder how often it does that and how accurate the data really is.
          • by mcrbids (148650) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @10:07PM (#32344146) Journal

            Compare the United States to Canada, which has less population density than the United States and generally higher connection speeds.

            • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

              by EdIII (1114411)

              In all fairness half of Canada is drunk at one moment. Everything seems to be faster up there.

            • by Solandri (704621) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @03:02AM (#32345516)
              The vast majority of Canada is unpopulated or sparsely populated [statcan.gc.ca]. 90% of Canadians live in a 200 km strip along the U.S. border [bbc.co.uk]. Distance from Vancouver to Halifax is 4443 km, giving a 200 km strip an area of 888,600 sq km (which includes a lot of water, but ignore that). Canada's population is 33.2 million, 90% of that is 29.8 million. So 90% of Canadians live in a population density of 33.5 ppl / sq km. The U.S. has a population density of 32.1 ppl / sq km.

              From net index site [netindex.com], the U.S. has an average connection speed of 10.16 Mbps. Canada has an average connection speed of 7.89 Mbps.
              • by Atmchicago (555403) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @07:18AM (#32346472) Homepage
                So then compare Canada with the Northeast Corridor (Boston, New York City, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Delaware, Baltimore, DC, Richmond).
              • by Chowderbags (847952) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @09:44AM (#32347788)
                Then dump Alaska, Wyoming, Montana, the Dakotas, Idaho, large portions of Texas, some of the very large state and national parks, etc from the US estimates. If every city up and down the east and west coast were saturated with 100 Mb/s with most inland areas getting only 10 Mb/s with only the really remote and inhospitable areas not getting good service (yeah, you're probably not going to see great speed in inland Alaska for the foreseeable future), then we could say that we're doing really well. But we're not. We've got an aging infrastructure that didn't get updated due to all sorts of greed and we'll pay the price for it eventually.
      • by billstewart (78916) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @08:09PM (#32343376) Journal

        The reason to have high bandwidth is to do cool stuff with it. 14kbps was fine for email, then 384 for average web, then 1.5M for Napster and gaming, 3 Mbps seems to be plenty to run YouTube and BitTorrent.

        The carriers that want to sell me high-speed connections are doing it so they can sell me television, and I've got plenty of television already. When Napster was new, the public position of the cable modem companies was "Content Thieves are EEEVIL", but if you talked to them privately, most of them had enough clue to say "Dude, Napster's the reason people are buying cable modems, we love it!" But these days they don't have anything new and cool to offer, and they're cluelessly talking about bandwidth caps and no-servers-at-home policies to make sure nobody develops anything new or cool.

        So what are you doing with your bandwidth that's interesting? I've heard that old people in Korea can use it to look at video from their local grocery store to see what's on sale, but I haven't heard of anything else interesting.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by drachenstern (160456)

          That's some very excellent insight.

          - - + - + - - +

          I don't think you're asking me, but let's assume you are. Most of our family doesn't live here, so I would be using it to keep in touch with them. Additionally I do web development, and would love to be able to work from home.

          However, that doesn't fit the mold of what you're describing, because that's a consumer centric purpose. You're describing "what does the vendor get out of it". Because that's what they are everywhere but the US. Vendors. Here, they're

    • by thule (9041)
      Depends on where you live. I have FiOS and I can tell you the download/upload is very, very good. Price? It might be more than $30/month, but for me it's worth it.
      • Good FSM man, I'm paying +$30 for 1.5DSL ... it's the only game in town, and I'm not in a position to just up and move (familial obligations, long backstory) ... besides that there is no FIOS in the largest city nearest my job ... as I understand, only one city in the state has FIOS...

        Thanks. Can you add a little more salt? ;)

        • by thule (9041)
          Only game?? Satellite -- high latency, but can do better than 1.5mbit. Heck, cell towers give better than 1.5mbit down these days. Is there a Verizon tower in your town? Is the town so small it doesn't have a cable company?
          • Satellite -- high latency, but can do better than 1.5mbit. Heck, cell towers give better than 1.5mbit down these days. Is there a Verizon tower in your town? Is the town so small it doesn't have a cable company?

            I looked into satellite as an alternative to the cheap cable internet at my new apartment. It was going to cost me much more than $30/month to get just 1 Mbps down. Satellite can fill a niche where there's absolutely no service, but it's not always economically feasible compared to landlines.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by drachenstern (160456)

              Eh, my iPhone gets better speeds in [45 miles nearby large town] than it does on my DSL. #JustSayin ...

          • So ... The people I know with satellite service in our area at "reasonable" rates ( $50/mo, more than what I'm paying) aren't getting download speeds as high as mine. Perhaps it's their choice of carrier, but I'm lead to believe there are only a couple of these guys around.

            So ... Verizon tower. No. None of my TMobile or Verizon customers get good reception at my house period. I have AT&T* and the best that my ATT gives me in the area is Edge 1-2 bars. If I sit in my yard. Yeah, there's no MiFi in my fu

            • DUDE! Opportunity is knocking! Find the CO in your town (it might be just a shack considering the size). The CO will at least have T1 service. Find a plot of land or someone's roof and set up your own wireless ISP.
              • Yeah, given that the best in town is either what I have, or T1, I don't see where I'm gaining much by getting a T1 over a 1.5Mbps DSL. Sure, I might have lower latency, but latency is not usually an issue out here. The fracking small size of the town and no support is.

                Also, who else would lease service from me? Like 5 people, maybe. This town seems to be split between welfare and retirement.

      • by 0racle (667029) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:07PM (#32342224)
        Verizon FIOS tops at 50Mbit/20Mbit down/up for $139/month according to their site.

        Now compare that to this [japantoday.com] from Japan.

        "KDDI Corp will launch a fiber-optic communications service with upload and download speeds each of up to one gigabit per second on Oct 1. ... KDDI will charge 5,985 yen in basic monthly fees for Internet and telephone services, down 1,155 yen from the current price."

        Yes, they said lowering the price. XE converts 5,985 yen to $66.29 USD. $66 for 1Gbit compared to $139 for 50Mbit.

        In everything, from the bottom all the way to the top, American internet speeds and price absolutely suck.
      • by antdude (79039)

        I used to pay $59.95 per month for Adelphia PowerLink cable Internet service with crappy uptime (DNS' going down, cable going out, etc.) and not good speeds (peak hours got slow as 10 kB/sec and fastest speed was like 150 kB/sec). This was before cable restructure in the city and DOCSIS in the early 2000s. :(

    • by pesho (843750) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @05:52PM (#32342060)
      Yes it is. Based on my experience in US and EU (including some of the East European countries that score high on the list), US is an expensive dump as far as internet access goes. The reason: there is competition and free enterprise out there unlike US. If you go in one of these eastern europe countries you get to choose from DSL, WiMAX, Cable and even ethernet cable strung from the local 'mom & pop' garage operation.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by YrWrstNtmr (564987)
        But, if you take the EU in toto as a similar size to the US, they are virtually tied. 10.02 v 10.16. Some places great, some not so much.
        Could it be better? Hells yeah. But this is not the 3rd world backwater that many in here like to proclaim.
        • by mikael_j (106439) on Wednesday May 26, 2010 @01:11AM (#32345188)

          The EU is not a nation, most ISPs do not freely operate across the borders of different European countries (although some do operate in neighboring countries, like Telenor in Sweden and Norway and TeliaSonera in Finland and Sweden).

          Also, by lumping all of Europe together you're basically trying to lower the higher speeds of some countries by throwing them in with low performers like Greece, Spain and Italy (I don't think most europeans needed netindex.com to know that these guys have fairly crappy internet infrastructure, anyone who's ever been there on vacation could tell you that, to paraphrase a description of Italy from a swede who went there a few years ago "Italy is like being in the dark ages with mopeds and indoor plumbing that occasionally works, I will never understand how these people made it into the G8").

      • The people in power here have forgotten that "free enterprise" and "free market" don't refer to "do anything you want". They forgot that the way we became powerful was by using regulation to harness the power of competition for our benefit; but that is no more.
        • by ArsonSmith (13997)

          ...due mostly to the idea that if a little regulation is good then a lot of regulation must be great!!

    • by eulernet (1132389)

      US is 26th: http://www.netindex.com/download/allcountries/ [netindex.com]

      Just before Norway and Russia but after Ukraine and Austria.

      But I guess it's normal, because of the small amount of money invested in the US infrastructure...

    • In response to my previous comment I ask the question: If the state of things in the US broadband wise is so bad, how do we fix it?
      • by rtaylor (70602)

        Bomb all data centers located outside of North America!

      • "Fixing it" requires investment in the infrastructure. The major telco / cable companies aren't generally interested in this in more than small amounts. If you're Comcast, you just need to be as fast as the telephone company, and vice versa. Speeds are actually finally coming up from the 1.5 MB standard that a lot of cable lines get to 3-6 MB down as services like AT&T UVerse compete with Comcast's "Power Boost" service in some areas as well as the pressure coming from expansions in 4G wireless. As
        • The big difference is that the US got widespread ADSL earlier than most countries, and the average density of telco COs is such that it's really hard to get past 3-6 Mbps without running new wires. So what you're really seeing is a reflection of the ratios between houses served by ADSL, Cable Modem, and newer technologies (such as fiber-to-the-home and fiber-to-the-block.)

          The real question is what you're going to do with all that bandwidth - Bittorrent will happily use any bandwidth you've got, 3 Mbps is f

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by icebraining (1313345)

            Well, maybe 3Mbps may be enough for Youtube, but it's not enough to preload a Youtube movie while I listen to KRTU and both Bittorrent and aptitude run in the background - especially if mine is not the only PC in the house.

            But my problem is not downstream (10 Mbps is enough for now), my problem is upstream; I have a home server that hosts my movies so I can watch them when I'm anywhere with my laptop, but my upstream can't even keep up with DVD quality playback. I always have to wait for it to download for

    • by v1 (525388) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @05:59PM (#32342144) Homepage Journal

      The US's upload speed has always stunk. Makes it impractical for most casual admins to run a small private server for friends or even personal use. Stinks when you want to remote to your house to grab a file, where you have 20mbps downstream, and only 768kbps upstream and it just takes forever to grab the file.

      Or you can get your wallet totally shafted by your isp if they do offer higher tiers of upstream. Double your speed usually triples to quadruples your monthly cost, and you're usually starting from dirt. (256k to at best 2m)

      I pay three times the usual rate at my house because I want their "premium" 2mbps (1.5 actual) instead of the totally useless 384k. (and that's with 10-20m down being standard)

      That's an annoying racket they have going with upstream. Problem is, the majority of people that really need high upstream are businesses that need it for employee offsite email and remoting into work, uploading files to customers, etc. So ISPs milk you hard because they expect you to have money to burn.

    • Looks like some of our states are bringing the overall average down. The top few states would make the top 10 list.
    • In my experience, it is hard to even imagine 10/2 Mbit/s average performance anywhere in the US; those numbers look way inflated. As the speed tests are short duration bursts, they are not indicative of actual sustained performance.

      • 35/35 here at the office and 50/30 at home.

      • Sure, your cable modem company is implementing download caps and harassing you for running a server at home because of bad PR problems they had 15 years ago, but if they're using modern equipment they're technically faster than that, and either the Verizon FIOS FFTH or AT&T U-Verse Fiber-to-the-block technologies get you faster as well. The problem is that anything other than telco ADSL is trying to sell you television (since in most places, DSL is good enough to watch YouTube), and they haven't found

    • by TheSync (5291)

      Is the USA really that far behind the curve, or is there another explanation?

      1) Yes, the USA is really that far behind the curve

      2) The explanation is mainly longer local loop lengths [tinyurl.com]. Average US local loops are over 4 km, compared with 3 km in the UK and France, or under 2 km in Germany and Italy. And unlike most European countries, almost no loops in the US are under 1.5 km, and the US is one of the few countries to have significant numbers of loops (10% of customers) over 5.5 km. This means much slowe

    • If you look at the quality metric, there are a lot of US cities on the top list. (Fewer packet losses, I think.)

      In terms of worst states, downloading, look at Alaska, New Mexico, Wyoming, etc...

      Uploading, look pretty much everywhere.

      Also, aren't these states skewed toward power users?

  • ("USian" if you're one of those "which country in America?" types)

    I am... discomfited.. at the fact that several cities in former Warsaw Pact nations have nearly DOUBLE the residential downlink bandwidth that the heart of Silicon Valley has. WTF?

    Oh, yeah, we definitely won that Cold War.

    • by cruff (171569) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @05:40PM (#32341924) Homepage

      Oh, yeah, we definitely won that Cold War.

      No, I think we lost the Corporate America looks only to squeeze the most profit out of consumers war. I expect the push for short term investor returns overrides the long term investment required for providing good service.

      • by Compholio (770966)

        Oh, yeah, we definitely won that Cold War.

        No, I think we lost the Corporate America looks only to squeeze the most profit out of consumers war. I expect the push for short term investor returns overrides the long term investment required for providing good service.

        It's not just that, we've deregulated our economy to the point that there's virtually no competition left. All the push from the libertarians for a "free market" has put us back to the days of robber barons running our country. I honestly th

        • by TheSync (5291)

          It's not just that, we've deregulated our economy to the point that there's virtually no competition left.

          What is your definition of "no competition left", in such a way that your statement can be backed up with data? I think that most deregulated industries have significant competition. Certainly the trucking and airline industries are more highly competitive today than before their deregulation in the 1970s, and that is backed up with lower trucking rates and ticket prices.

          All the push from the liberta

    • There is a difference between the quantity of users, and the network speed each user has. The data will be skewed since it'll give smaller and denser countries an advantage.

      Also, the US has more "unlimited" plans than the rest of the world. Most broadband plans that we have in the US do not charge by the megabyte, yet in Australia (and others) they do. So I suspect there is quite a bit less bittorents in those countries than in the US. The more congested the network, the less the performance measured.

    • by sammyF70 (1154563)
      I live geographically in America but happily not in the USA, I guess I *AM* of that type. The correct term is US-American btw.
      Back on topic, you might want to compare comparable data. Just take single states to compare them with single european (as in geographical Europe) countries with a similar population density. The USA don't fare all THAT bad, really.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        The top 3 US States were:
        *Delaware (15.56)
        *Rhode Island (15.21)
        *Massachusetts (15.01)

        Bottom 3 US States:
        *Montana (5.02)
        *Idaho (4.29)
        *Alaska (2.27)
      • by corbettw (214229)

        The correct term is "American". Has been for centuries. Or do you think when the barbarians in the Middle East chant "death to America" they're talking about you?

        • by sammyF70 (1154563)
          No. I think they just followed the example of US-americans chanting "God Bless America" and actually meaning God should bless the bit above the folks they are desperately trying to keep out and below the guys with the weird accent and the slightly better (imo) IP and copyright laws.
    • And I don't even trust the San Jose numbers. 15 Mbit average download speed? There are a ton of people with that kind of speed in San Jose, and that's because they're computer geeks who *NEED* that speed (to play WoW lagfree - right). However, there's an even bigger number of people who don't give a rats ass about download speed, as long as they can check their email and play Farmville. And they don't check their bandwidth.

      Not to mention that I don't even know if Ookla distinguishes between IT people testin

      • Also for high speeds, many of the speed test servers are insufficient. I get wildly varied results when I test at work. Reason is I'm basically testing the current capacity of a single connection to a given server at that time. The network here has more bandwidth, they just either don't have enough, or aren't setting it aside for speed tests. So I'll hit a server in state and see 100mbit, hit one in another state and see 250mbit. Then I'll go download a Linux torrent and see 800-900mbit.

        Regardless I'm with

    • by zill (1690130)
      The military-industry complex won the Cold War. The people on both sides lost.
    • You're shocked that one of the first places in the US to get broadband internet has people who still have slow connections, in a sprawling semi-mountainous geography where the cable TV networks were built a town at a time rather than all at once by a monopoly and the population's grown substantially since the telco offices were built? If you want to buy a fast cable modem connection in most of the flat parts of Silicon Valley, you can, and if you want to buy AT&T U-Verse Fiber-to-the-block service that

  • While it's great to have last mile numbers, instead of useless metrics of advertised performance, there still needs to be a control for other factors, such as cost. For example, if you looked at my speedtest results you would see that I'm getting roughly 10/1 mbps, but what you would not see is that I pay $100/month and use a not-widely-available mlppp offering and multiple connections to get this. It's silly, because each of my modems is individually capable of this speed, but the ISP (the incumbent, not m

  • I'm pretty sure this study wildly and unpredictably overestimates the average available broandband speed. Not too many people know how to test their download bandwidth, and only people with specific need to check their bandwidth will do so. It also doesn't differentiate between mobile and fixed broadband speeds, which should affect the numbers significantly.

    All in all, I really don't think this means anything. It could be possible to use it as a comparative tool by assuming that the proportion of internet s

    • If we have a nation of geeks who were supposed to be getting "up to 1/3/6 Mbps down" who are all going to this site and are never seeing those max speeds in testing, what will it say about the need for truth in advertising? For that matter, connections are neutral - it doesn't matter if I'm a nerd or a jock or whatever, I have a Comcast connection like everyone else.

      Instead of griping over it, this might be the time for a small campaign. My own personal plan is to put posts on my blog/whatever telling
      • ,quote>If we have a nation of geeks who were supposed to be getting "up to 1/3/6 Mbps down" who are all going to this site and are never seeing those max speeds in testing, what will it say about the need for truth in advertising?

        Speedtest.net has always been a great personal test to verify if you have the bandwidth that you expect. My concern is that this is being peddled by Ookla as some sort of representative data set that can tell you something about geographical bandwith averages - which it can't po

    • Not to mention the fact it won't take ISP's long to optimize for these kinds of tests, rendering results less than meaningless.
    • There's issues with what servers you use. So suppose your ISP gives you a high physical rate connection, 100mbit say. However they have it set up so it is more or less a bigass WAN, they don't have the bandwidth to their providers to back up that kind of rate. You only get like 5mbps out to the net at large. However, your provider runs an Ookla server. So you go to test and that server is the recommended choice. You choose it, and get a 100mbit rate reported because internally, you get that speed. Thus it a

      • by TheSync (5291)

        There's issues with what servers you use. So suppose your ISP gives you a high physical rate connection, 100mbit say. However they have it set up so it is more or less a bigass WAN, they don't have the bandwidth to their providers to back up that kind of rate.

        The problem is the US is that long local loop lengths (often over 4,000 feet) are the limiting bandwidth factor.

      • Thanks for the info. I guess you're right: it's even worse than I thought.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by jmrives (1019046)
      From what I can tell, the data they gathered is based on users around the world using their web site, Speedtest.net. So, there is no estimation on the part of the users. Also, the user who is testing their download and upload speeds does not have to be very tech savvy. All they have to do is open a browser, navigate to the site and click on a button to start the test.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by talcite (1258586)

      It also doesn't differentiate between mobile and fixed broadband speeds, which should affect the numbers significantly.

      Why can't it differentiate between mobile and fixed broadband speeds? The user agent string from a mobile browser should be different from a desktop one. The only exception is if the mobile connection is tethered.

  • Does this report on broadband offer any broader insights on Net Neutrality? Would instituting such a regime increase the gap between the US and other countries, or would it widen it and why?
    • by TheSync (5291)

      Does this report on broadband offer any broader insights on Net Neutrality? Would instituting such a regime increase the gap between the US and other countries, or would it widen it and why?

      It is likely that much of the difference is due to longer local loop lengths in the US and incumbency of copper. To the extent that Net Neutrality regulations would reduce local provider profitability on capital, they would be less likely to build more COs/POPs to reduce copper distances or install new fiber-to-the-home

  • by pgn674 (995941) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:06PM (#32342222) Homepage
    The addresses are Speedtest.net [speedtest.net] and Pingtest.net [pingtest.net]. And yeah, I checked to make sure I got the capitalization correct.

    speedtest.com is a squatter, and pingtest.com redirects to bandwidthplace.com, which looks awfully shady. Whois says it was registered by proxy, the Better Business Bureau has no record on that phone number, and neither does Google.
  • by oliphaunt (124016) on Tuesday May 25, 2010 @06:14PM (#32342278) Homepage

    first a nugget of fact, then some commentary:

    1. When we moved to Portland, Oregon, we had Qwest come out to the house to rewire one of the phone jacks because the mooks who hooked it up to the outside world crosswired the connections- we didn't even have dial tone. After the tech fixed the problem, first thing he did after confirming DSL sync was to run a speed test. I asked him if that was SOP and he said that he was trained to always run a speed test for new customers- he suggested that it might be part of an upsell but that he doesn't like selling so he never comments (oh, you're only getting 750k down, but you're in an area where 7/1 MB service is available... did you know you can upgrade for just $3.50/month!???? ...). YMMV but if this is SOP for Qwest on installs, there is one population of regular testers.

    2. I agree with earlier commenters- there is probably a self-selecting sampling bias.

    3. Because of #2, any "data" they collect is probably very skewed towards computer-savvy users who are demanding higher-speed services and using their website to check if the service they're getting matches what they're paying for. Unless there are some details of the methodology that they're not telling us about, the survey probably reports higher bandwidth than actually is delivered to the majority of people with net access in those cities. If it's just a simple aggregation & average of whoever decides to click on speedtest.com from inside a given city's IP range, well, that probably tells you something... but it's probably not a good proxy for a complete picture of "last mile" connectivity.

  • Many countries (Lithuania, Aland Islands, Ghana for example) have sharp peaks in their reported bandwidth. At first I thought it might be tourism related and thus could be a seasonal thing, but these peaks have a period much longer than a year.

    Does anyone have any good ideas on what's causing these peaks?
  • by glwtta (532858)
    I see they once again dipped into the "candidate organ names for newly discovered species of amphibians" pool. Didn't that fad die out a while ago?

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