Tuesday 5 June 2012

Realistic Speed Advertising

The acting head of the CRTC announced today that the CRTC is conducting a test project to determine what the actual Internet speed is that a consumer receives. For years, the vendors have advertised "up to" which in most cases was the maximum theoretical capability of the technology used. When users conducted speed tests using either a vendor's program or a third party program, the actual speed received by a user was very much less. It was not unheard of for users to record as much as 1/4 or less of the advertised speed. This has been a long-standing complaint of Internet users.

The United Kingdom (Ofcom) and the United Stated (FCC) have conducted similar tests in the past. Some of these studies resulted in regulatory policy affecting how vendors can advertise their Internet speeds.

Acting CRTC chair Leonard Katz indicated the CRTC is now in the process of conducting a pilot project in collaboration with an unnamed Internet Service Provider. I am sure the fact that the CRTC is working with an established ISP will give rise to many accusations of collusion and complicity. The use of independent testing organization may have added credibility to any data collected.

Nevertheless, the need to provide a more accurate statement of what speeds a user can expect is long overdue.

Mr. Katz did not provide a timeline for publication of the results but he anticipated live testing to begin in 60 to 90 days.

This is definitely a study that bears watching.

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