Posted by Alexandra
The place where you live has a water source. Whether it is city water, a well, or a spring, the water enters your dwelling at a rate that is measured in gallons per minute (gpm). This rate affects how your home functions. For example, can you comfortably shower and run the kitchen sink at the same time?
The information that flows over the internet has a rate as well, and it is measured in megabits per second (Mbps). When you visit a website, download speed affects incoming data, while upload speed affects outgoing data. There is a constant flow down-up-down-up as your computer reaches out to other computers for the information you request.
Just as your home’s water delivery rate may be different than your neighbor’s, internet speeds vary as well: from house to house, business to business, city to city, and state to state. The internet speed in a region contributes to the function of its healthcare, education, and economy.
When an internet service provider (ISP) such as Frontier, Suddenlink, CityNet, or Lumos sells you an Internet package, they sell you a certain speed for a certain price. You can find out easily what you’re paying for–just ask your ISP if it’s not on your bill. But here’s the big question: are you actually getting what you’re paying for? There are online tools that can help you determine that. The one we use and recommend most frequently is speedtest.net, a consumer protection tool.
Here is a sample of our download speed. We pay for 40 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. Are we getting it?
Unlike other speed tests provided by ISP’s, speedtest.net is an independent website that ventures outside of the regional network to test speeds. We believe that it provides a relatively accurate gauge of your download and upload speed at a given point in time. Your speeds may vary by the time of day and be affected by other network activity, so test and retest. You can even create an account on the site for management of your historical results. It is rare to get 100% of the advertised speed, but take special notice if you consistently drop below 70% of what you’re paying for.
We wanted to tell you about speed testing because you have a right to verify that you are getting what you are paying for, and to discuss your results with your ISP. Imagine going to McDonald’s, ordering a Big Mac, and receiving half a burger. Most all of us would go right back to the counter to complain. Are you putting up with sub-standard service from your ISP?