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New York AG Asks Public To Submit Internet Speed Results To Aid ISP Investigation

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been investigating Verizon Communications Inc., Cablevision Systems Corp and Time Warner Cable Inc. over false advertising for their Internet speeds since October. He’s now asking these companies’ customers to take an Internet speed test and submit the results to his office. This way he’ll get a better idea whether Verizon, Cablevision and TWC are lying to their customers about the speeds they’re getting.

Schneiderman's office also sent the three companies requests for more information and copies of any tests they have done on their own Internet speeds, as well as copies of disclosures they have made to their customers. To see whether there’s any large discrepancy between what they say they are offering and what they’re actually delivering, the AG also asked for feedback from the public.

His office created a new online broadband test at InternetHealthTest.org, which will capture a customer’s real bandwidth speeds. After the test is done by the customers of Verizon, Cablevision or TWC, he wants them to submit a screenshot of the results and fill out an online form.

“New Yorkers should get the Internet speeds they pay for. Too many of us may be paying for one thing, and getting another,” Schneiderman said in a statement to Reuters.

The current investigation is mainly interested in the interconnection deals that ISPs make with each other. The AG’s office was concerned that customers that pay a premium for their service were experiencing service disruptions due to disputes between the providers over the interconnection arrangements.

When the FCC passed the new net neutrality rules earlier this year, it specifically left out interconnection deals because it thought it lacked expertise in this fast-growing area. This could be why the NY Attorney General decided to take matters into his hands, if he saw some potential abuses afoot.

The three companies said that they will offer the AG any information he needs and will assist in the investigation.

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Lucian Armasu joined Tom’s Hardware in early 2014. He writes news stories on mobile, chipsets, security, privacy, and anything else that might be of interest to him from the technology world. Outside of Tom’s Hardware, he dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • firefoxx04
    I love this. Comcast claims I get 75mbps but my area only gets 25. They even send me letters congratulating me on how awesome it is that they bumped me from 50 to 75 without a bill increase. Jokes on me. 25mbps. Id be better off moving to a 2nd world country.
    Reply
  • turkey3_scratch
    I feel the same way, never get my 30mbps download.
    Reply
  • allawash
    @turkey3_scratch and @firefoxx04 while I have had relatively few problems with Comcast myself, I contacted them about my speed and how my bill said it was supposed to be at xxx mbps and whatever. Lady on the phone told me it was because the modem I was using was DOCSIS 2.0 instead of 3.0, which allows you to get speeds above 30mbps. Being as it was their equipment I asked her why they didn't contact me about the need to change equipment, surly it was in a database somewhere, right? Basically got the "I don't know" should shrug response. I was probably lucky she knew that much about it, most the time the person on the other end is only reading a script and has no clue. The kicker to this incident? Not two months after I complained, a notice magically showed up in the mail telling me I needed to upgrade my equipment.
    Reply
  • falchard
    I don't think he is very technically inclined. There is already speed test.net that has this data from a large data set collected over years. His test is also unscientific and probably won't give him the results he wants. First most of these tests will be done on off peak times giving higher than normal speeds. Second the test is constrained to his own departments server which will obviously dismiss the test outright. It might not be capable of the bandwidth. Much like how there are slow downs on YouTube due to demand.
    BTW I am with Cox and they recently doubled my speeds. I now get 380 Mb/s during peak times. Wahahahahahahahahahaha
    Reply
  • vern72
    I guess I'm one of the lucky ones. I actually get a slightly faster download speed than what I paid for. The upload speed is a bit slower but I don't mind that. (And no, I'm not with TWC, Verizon, or CableSystems)
    Reply
  • vriley
    I used to work taking support calls for comcast. The problem is a couple of things.

    Techs are going out to customers house and installing an all-in-one wireless router/modem and then taking the easiest and quickest route to leaving the customers home. They set everything up as wireless and tell the cx to have a nice day. I had people call in getting 2-10mbps and when I ask how many active wireless networks show up in their list it was 15-40 or more. Most customers dont know anything about how wireless works. There are 11 channels (think walkie talkie here) and each channel will bleed into the 2 channels beside it slightly as the signal falls off. Well comcast techs are only allowed to pick channels 1, 6, or 11. They will never try one of the other channels. If you have multiple wireless networks in the same channel then bam, its like having too many cooks in the kitchen. Your wireless device and your router have to repeat themselves so often that they slow down to make sure they get heard. So much crosstalk between the channels there. Hence the speed degradation.

    So the avg customer just accepts what was installed, doesnt question anything, doesnt bother to investigate or learn how the wifi works, and then just sits around and bitches "Whaaaa my internets slow".

    FYI - under perfect conditions, 2.4ghz wifi will top out around 54Mbps. There is almost never ever perfect conditions if you live in an apartment or have close neighbors with lots of wifi devices.

    These highspeed internet providers only guarantee their speeds if you are connected via wired connection (ethernet cable). So these speedtests, unless done from a wired connection, are not going to prove anything.

    tl;dr - go google wireless crosstalk, wireless channels, how to minimize interference, or better yet go get an ethernet cable.
    Reply
  • ShinKikaru
    I am glad someone its taking ISPs to task for misleading customers about internet speeds.
    Reply
  • thundervore
    Although this will be a good data source, using speed sites to submit these tests will not be accurate as ISPs can simply shape traffic to speed test sites or cache them to have better speed

    I have no problem with my speeds on Optimum Online.

    I have the Ultra 50 and was smart enough to demand a DOCSIS 3.0 modem after the old Motorola Surfboard DOCSIS 2.0 model kept rebooting itself after my bittorrent download speed passed 2MB/s. I also demanded a Modem only and brought my own wireless router and the combo units they provide are terrible!

    I have a great understanding of how this stuff works and it is my within my profession but when I tell them what I need to resolve the issue and they send 3 different techs out that just replace the modem with the same exact model, or just replace the coax splitters and coax cables it becomes frustrating for the customer.

    I now have a Arris modem and my speeds are rock solid both up and down.
    Reply
  • BulkZerker
    @falchard speed test.net is the most well known isb bandwidth test. My 15-50 connection routinely comes back as 25-75 while also running testmy.net or speedof.me s own bandwidth tests. Which crawl along at a few mbs a second. Its even more telling when their tech support implores you to run speedtest.net while on the phone with you to show that the problem isn't their fault.

    Conclusion? ISPs know about speedtest.net and give it high priority on their networks.

    This rustles my jimmies had when I have something on the same ISP across town and file transfers trundle along at 1meg... On a 25 up pipe. Or even better I can download from it at 5 megs... On a 75 downstream.
    Reply
  • Tykkopoles
    @vriley You are omitting a lot of information in the world or wireless. Bonded channels, having Wireless-G device on a Wireless-N or Wireless-AC network, distance, obstruction, EMF, and tons of other factors can effect speeds. Wireless-G 2.4 GHz maxes out at 54 Mbps, yes, but that is an antiquated standard that is very rarely used in first-world countries anymore. Wireless-N uses multi-channel connections to offer up to 150 Mbps on 2.4 GHz or 600 Mbps on 5 GHz. Wireless-AC offers over 1 Gbps on 5 GHz. Again, as you say, that's in a perfect scenario, which never happens. Realistically, AC sees speeds around 100 Mbps.

    Another major flaw in many older routers or router/modem combos is the processing power. Many people I know would frequently experience slow speeds or even intermittent disconnections on WiFi. When I inquired into it more, I discovered that these people had 10+ devices all connected. Older routers were designed before the IoT age, when you might have had 3 computers connected at maximum. Now, between computers, tablets, smartphones, Smart TVs, game consoles, appliances, light bulbs, garage door openers, door locks, security systems (w/ WiFi cameras)... (the list goes on) you need more processing power in the router to juggle all of those connections.

    @thundervore Arris makes Surfboards... They bought the segment of Motorola responsible for home networking in 2012. Not sure how long ago it was that you were "smart enough to demand" a DOCSIS 3.0 modem, as they were made standard almost a decade ago. Almost every Cable ISP around has been requiring D3 modems since 2010-2012. Technology world moves fast... The way you are talking is like talking about SPI like it was just phased in favor of SAS last month. Cablevision requires a D3 modem for the Ultra 50 service, meaning you probably sounded like a dummy and/or rude for "demanding" a modem they would give you anyway.

    Source: http://optimum.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1791/kw/DOCSIS/session/L3RpbWUvMTQ1MDI4NjgzMS9zaWQvdmpQWXY3RW0%3D
    Reply