Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FCC Relying On Faulty ISP Performance Data

Soulskill posted more than 4 years ago | from the libraries-of-congress-per-microfortnight dept.

Government 89

alphadogg writes "The FCC recently used speed test results from comScore as an absolute indicator of specific ISPs' performance. Consulting firm NetForecast analyzed comScore's testing methodology and data to assess whether it accurately reflects broadband ISP performance, and to assess the appropriateness of using the data to reach general conclusions about the actual performance ISPs deliver to their subscribers. NetForecast uncovered problems on both counts. They found that the effective service speeds comScore reports are low by a large margin (PDF) because its data calculations under-report performance and place many subscribers in a higher performance tier than they purchased."

cancel ×

89 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Wait for ACK? (1)

lalena (1221394) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661122)

Waiting for an ACK before transmitting the next packet doesn't seem like a way of measuring bandwidth. Sounds like a measure of bandwidth + latency.

Re:Wait for ACK? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661150)

I'm going to measure the speed of sticking my dick in your ass + how long it takes for you to give me a cleveland steamer.

Re:Wait for ACK? (3, Interesting)

topham (32406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661428)

TCP/IP doesn't wait for the ACK. It keeps sending until the Window is full, or the ACK is received. If the Window fills it will wait until the ACK is received (or timeout and retry, etc).

If the test is trying to automatically place the users in specific Tiers then there could be a problem, however the rest of the issues are mostly a red herring. I use Speedtest.net and can readily attest to it's general accuracy, and I seriously doubt any other services are all that different.

by the way, I'm not in the U.S., I actually get what I pay for.

Re:Wait for ACK? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661542)

What do you pay or and what do you get? (just curious)

The speedtest.net you reference shows that the EU* is about 1 Mbit/s behind the US (which is 7.8 Mbit/s average). Now maybe your specific member state is faster overall, but the top US state is no slouch either (Delaware at 12.5). The only continent-sized federation faster than the US is the Russian Federation.

*
* Yes I'm making a big jump here that you live in the EU.

Re:Wait for ACK? (2, Interesting)

topham (32406) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661632)

I pay for 15 Mbit down and .5 Mbit up.
I get 15-20 Mbit down and .5 Mbit up.

I even tested it with the FCC test since I posted the first message. It rated my connection slightly faster than speedtest.net did. (Not significantly, and I'm sure it would vary).

Until recently I paid for 20 Mbit / 1.0 Mbit; but I wanted to save some money.

The general illusion in the U.S. is many markets are the numbers for a zip-code are good, or even fantastic, but only a tiny fraction of the zip-code may actually get any service at all. Other zip-codes where they actually have significant penetration often have poor, or even dismal results compared to what the consumer is promised. Due to the prior reporting requirements the FCC had the ISPs were using this difference to fudge their numbers and service levels. The truth took a back seat.

Re:Wait for ACK? (2, Informative)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662972)

Course my Zipcode has 10MB charter available in it. Of course, thats the homes right around the golf course. And the only ones that have cable. The rest of us get either Satellite, 3G, or Wisp coverage that is spotty, and drops alot. But according to the FCC, I have high speed available, since those houses on the golf course have it, and were all in the same zip code.

And I live a few miles from a very large town. So if the majority of the EU is at 7.8Mb/s and they have access to that, I think its awesome. I have 600k\s. I pay $50/month for that, and feel lucky.

Re:Wait for ACK? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669632)

>>>So if the majority of the EU is at 7.8Mb/s

6.8 Mbit/s

>>>I have 600k\s. I pay $50/month for that, and feel lucky.

That's nuts. I have DSL through my phone company and it only costs $15/month. If I were in a position of power (nudges FCC), I would mandate DSL must be supplied to any customer that requests it. The wires are already there - all that's needed is to install the ~$1000 DSLAM at each central station.

Re:Wait for ACK? (3, Informative)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661650)

by the way, I'm not in the U.S., I actually get what I pay for.

You might have worded that a little bit better. Canada and Australia have worse broadband networks than the US does. Most US users on DSL get what they pay for. Cable networks may or may not deliver the promised performance at all hours, but that's simply the nature of the beast. In my area Time Warner provides 10MBit/s service on a DOCSIS 1.1 network. That means that just four customers are enough to max out a node that serves dozens to hundreds of customers.

Re:Wait for ACK? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31669998)

In my area Time Warner provides 10MBit/s service on a DOCSIS 1.1 network. That means that just four customers are enough to max out a node that serves dozens to hundreds of customers.

Let me guess, you schill for the local DSL company, don't you? Educate yourself, please. Citations can be found via google, you can start with http://www.dslreports.com/faq/7135

I'll sum up the important bits for you

Bandwidth limits in cable modem networks are not per node. Bandwidth limits in cable systems are defined by the upstream or downstream channels assigned. Nodes aren't the limit because they can be configured to use larger data channels or multiple data channels for more bandwidth.

Often due to low bandwidth utilization, several nodes are combined together in the cable "headend" before they are connected to the ports on the CMTS, so another way a provider can increase available bandwidth to an area is to "decombine" a number of nodes using the same data channel.

The bandwidth available per CMTS data channel in DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0 CMTSs is about 30 mbps per downstream channel using QAM 64 modulation and about 42 mbps using QAM 256 modulation. Total upstream bandwidth is limited to about 5 mbps per upstream channel using QPSK modulation and 10 mbps using QAM 16 modulation for DOCSIS 1.0, 1.1, and 2.0 CMTSs Up to 30 mbps total upstream channel bandwidth can be made available on DOCSIS 2.0 CMTSs using DOCSIS 2.0 modulation rates. Actual usable data bandwidth is 10-15% lower due to the bandwidth overhead of DOCSIS protocols.

So if you run short of bandwidth at a node, you just drop another upstream card into it. If you run out of upstream channels then you add another CMTS at the headend. And you can always split the node itself, or upgrade the Docsis version so you can add more channels per existing node.

Re:Wait for ACK? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670592)

No, I'm not a DSL "shrill". I receive my service through Time Warner -- 10 mbit/s (15mbit/s on RR Turbo) shared beats 1.5mbit/s dedicated any day of the week.

Your citation from DSLReports sounds great in theory but I've never seen Time Warner operate that way in my area. They have a single downstream channel for Roadrunner throughout this entire area. I've talked to engineers that admit that they often hook as many as four different nodes up to a single downstream card in the CMTS. Each node does have it's own upstream channel but the upstream is rarely where the bottleneck is.

They could deploy more downstream channels or even upgrade to DOCSIS 3.0 but why would they bother? Verizon has no interest in deploying FiOS here and their DSL product can't compete with cable internet unless you are lucky enough to live across the street from the central office.

Re:Wait for ACK? (1)

JWSmythe (446288) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664218)

    I prefer the speedtest that you can download and put on your own servers.

    There are far too many unknown when testing from point A (your PC) to point B (the speedtest server). Because it's a public speedtest server, that hans people are beating on it all the time. Is the server capable of handling it? The uplink? Is there a congestion problem between you and them. mtr helps to give a better image of potential problems during the test.

    I have access to servers on Verizon FiOS and BrightHouse commercial lines. That covers most of the customers in my area. I know the bandwidth is as advertised on both circuits, and I know what their utilization is (measured at the switch attached to the uplink). From customer locations, sometimes I get the advertised rates, sometimes I don't. There is absolutely *HUGE* fluctuation between what I see on either of my hosts, and the public servers. A 10Mb/s down line (for example) will show just about that from either of my own servers. From the public servers, I'll see anything from 1Mb/s to 15Mb/s I know some providers fudge their numbers with QoS, and even unlimited traffic that they know is going speedtest servers.

    When I've done these tests for friends and customers, sometimes they're satisfied. Sometimes it results in an angry call to the provider that a song and dance about intermittent problems, which suddenly gets resolved within minutes (i.e., the line was capped wrong, and they fixed it)

   

FCC is faulty? (3, Funny)

Bob_Who (926234) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661130)

I just am so surprised. Its run by a bunch of government employees, and they are rarely faulty.

Re:FCC is faulty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661348)

Have you any idea how often government employes are wrong? I mean, the number of...

Oh wait, you actually broke my sarcasm detector. You jackass.

Re:FCC is faulty? (3, Insightful)

Otterley (29945) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661420)

And we all know employees of private companies are infallible.

Re:FCC is faulty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661476)

No, but in contrast to a government operation there are a dozen other companies fighting each other and trying to get it right.

Re:FCC is faulty? (5, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661508)

No, but in contrast to a government operation there are a dozen other companies colluding with each other and trying to screw their consumers as much as possible.

FTFY.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

HeckRuler (1369601) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661520)

Except when the ISP has a monopoly on broadband in the area. Which is one of the reasons we have the FCC.

Re:FCC is faulty? (0, Troll)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661594)

Except when the ISP has a monopoly on broadband in the area. Which is one of the reasons we have the FCC.

That's funny, I could have sworn the FCC was created in 1934 to regulate the airwaves.

Re:FCC is faulty? (3, Informative)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661686)

US Code Title 47, Chapter 5, Subchapter I, Section 151:

For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio so as to make available, so far as possible, to all the people of the United States, without discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, a rapid, efficient, Nation-wide, and world-wide wire and radio communication service with adequate facilities at reasonable charges, for the purpose of the national defense, for the purpose of promoting safety of life and property through the use of wire and radio communications, and for the purpose of securing a more effective execution of this policy by centralizing authority heretofore granted by law to several agencies and by granting additional authority with respect to interstate and foreign commerce in wire and radio communication, there is created a commission to be known as the “Federal Communications Commission”, which shall be constituted as hereinafter provided, and which shall execute and enforce the provisions of this chapter.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661734)

Then you haven't actually read the charter of the FCC:

For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio

But even disregarding that the scope and powers of the FCC has evolved over time as Congress has given it more authority. You seem to be the only one unaware that governmental agencies evolve over time.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661788)

You seem to be the only one unaware that governmental agencies evolve over time.

That's true. They eventually fall victim to regulatory capture and wind up entrenching the very businesses that they were created to regulate, to the detriment of innovation and society as a whole.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

TheSync (5291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664396)

For the purpose of regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire and radio

Wire and radio eh? I don't see the word "fiber" in there...

Re:FCC is faulty? (0, Troll)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662056)

Thats funny. I thought the DOE was created in 1977 to end our dependence on foreign oil.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 4 years ago | (#31675010)

Trollish? Guess it is trollish to point out that newly created government entities never die and only grow. Either that or the Mod in this case is a dipshit. Not sure.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662230)

Ya know.....

the only reason ISPs have monopolies is because local governments GAVE them the monopoly. If local governments stopped handing-out these exclusive licenses, and allowed the free market to operate, then we'd have a dozen different companies serving our homes. Just imagine if your choices were:

- Comcast
- Cox
- Time-warner
- Cablevision
- Verizon
- Roadrunner
- Quest
- ATT
- AppleTV
- MSN .....and you simply chose whichever one you liked best, and "hooked" into their privately-owned fiber to get your internet and/or cable television. That would be possible if local governments revoked the exclusive monopoly. (Of course they won't because Comcast bribes the politicians to keep the monopoly.)

Re:FCC is faulty? (2, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31663662)

Ya know.....

the only reason ISPs have monopolies is because local governments GAVE them the monopoly. If local governments stopped handing-out these exclusive licenses, and allowed the free market to operate, then we'd have a dozen different companies serving our homes. Just imagine if your choices were:

And the only reason those monopolies stay in place is because those same companies you list collude together to lobby that they stay around. If you think any of those companies actually want to compete against each other you're living in a fantasy world.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669808)

>>>And the only reason those monopolies stay in place is because those same companies you list collude together to lobby that they stay around. If you think any of those companies actually want to compete against each other you're living in a fantasy world.
>>>

And if you had bothered to read my WHOLE message, you would not have repeated what I already said:
"Of course they won't because Comcast bribes the politicians to keep the monopoly."

Re:FCC is faulty? (2, Insightful)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664202)

the only reason ISPs have monopolies is because local governments GAVE them the monopoly. If local governments stopped handing-out these exclusive licenses, and allowed the free market to operate, then we'd have a dozen different companies serving our homes.

No. Natural monopoly due to high fixed cost of infrastructure would prevent that.

Get real. Running fiber and purchasing/leasing rights-of-way is expensive, and a dozen companies are not going to run out competing infrastructure without making sure they can dominate the local market.

I personally experienced this in '84-86 when my town was trying to get cable service. We voted a local monopoly for 20 years, which expired in 2006. Guess what? Even though everyone was *pissed* at our current provider, and over 60% of survey respondents said they would change providers if equivalent pricing were available, not a single other provider was interested in coming in. Finally we got Verizon to come in with FiOS -- but they already had the rights-of-way and conduit laid (for telephone service), so there was less of an up-front cost for them.

I'm firmly convinced that if Verizon didn't already have a big chunk of the sunk cost taken care, we'd still be languishing under Cablevision -- and paying 40% more for the same service than our neighbors down the road whose condo board allowed satellite dishes.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

smpoole7 (1467717) | more than 4 years ago | (#31666460)

paying 40% more for the same service than our neighbors down the road whose condo board allowed satellite dishes.

.

Not strictly on topic, but I am endlessly amazed at the condo, apartment and rental unit operators who try to restrict satellite dishes. Except for some special cases (ex., you're in a historical district or putting up the dish would present a safety hazard), they CANNOT restrict satellite dishes that are less than 1 meter in size.

See the FCC's policy on receiving antennas (including satellite dishes) here. [fcc.gov]

Practically speaking, you'll typically have to get the FCC involved (which takes time) and you'll have a real fight on your hands (a typical homeowner's association can be one of the most recalcitrant beasts on the planet), but the FCC takes your right to receive a satellite signal quite seriously.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669680)

>>>No. Natural monopoly due to high fixed cost of infrastructure would prevent that.

I don't consider running fiber optics to be a "natural" monopoly. Fiber is cheap - and the metal pipes are already under the street. If a new competitor like Google wants to start supplying hookups, all they have to do is run the fiber through the pipe to any customer who requests Google TV or Internet.

In fact there are some towns that DO have two competing cable companies, thereby giving customers a choice.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31671066)

I don't consider running fiber optics to be a "natural" monopoly. Fiber is cheap - and the metal pipes are already under the street. If a new competitor like Google wants to start supplying hookups, all they have to do is run the fiber through the pipe to any customer who requests Google TV or Internet.

Are you seriously suggesting that there is conduit under public streets that anyone can run fiber through free of charge?

And it's not just the fiber, there's all the other infrastructure required, as well as having service crews for the lines, etc.

There are a lot of fixed costs for fiber or cable, and this is what makes them a natural monopoly.

In fact there are some towns that DO have two competing cable companies, thereby giving customers a choice.

Yes, now that cable can also serve voice and internet, there's more money to be made, and so more opportunity for a second-past-the-post company to be able to operate profitably.

But it's laughable to think it's economically feasible to have twelve competing companies, all with redundant infrastructure. The only way you're going to get that is if the fiber/cable is publicly or privately held by an organization who operates only as a backbone -- and everyone serving the end-user can lease space on equal terms. Even then, you're not likely to have twelve competitors, due to other fixed costs.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661752)

Private companies don't have access to my paycheck.

For example when Comcast yanked TCM off my cable without notice (and in violation of FCC rules), then sent me some paperwork that I could get TCM back by getting a "free" digital converter box at $5 per month rental (times 3 sets), I mailed them a photo of my middle digit attached to a formal complaint to the FCC, and asked them to cancel my cable effective the day they yanked TCM w/o telling me.

Now when Comcast mails me a letter asking me to "come back" I just laugh.
Good luck trying to laugh at the IRS, FCC, or any other government desiring your money.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Otterley (29945) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661778)

Private companies can use legal process the same way the Government can to obtain access to your paycheck. Ever heard of "garnishment"?

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662138)

>>>>>Private companies don't have access to my paycheck. For example when Comcast...I asked them to cancel my cable
>>
>>Private companies can use legal process..... Ever heard of "garnishment"?

Are you saying Comcast can drag me to court, convince the judge to FORCE me to be their customer, and suck/garnish a $70 subscription fee out of my paycheck each month??? - Dude. That has to be the most stupid idiotic thing I've ever heard anyone say. Of course they can't do that.

Now contrast that with government which can sign me up for __________ (fill in service) and simply extract the fee from my paycheck, even if I don't want said service. It's the power of the gun.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Otterley (29945) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664474)

No, but a judge can hold you liable if you violate a contract or damage a private party. I wasn't trying to imply that private parties can levy taxes.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

sabt-pestnu (967671) | more than 4 years ago | (#31674042)

While you are correct, that a judge can hold you liable for contract violation, in this case Comcast unilaterally changed the terms of the contract. The GP was within his rights to insist that the contract be honored, or be terminated without damages. He chose "terminated".

Re:FCC is faulty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31676566)

A little off topic, but re private parties levying taxes... U.S. telcos have "levied" the "FCC Approved Customer Line Charge" for years. Most consumers think it's a tax, and BigTel does nothing to dissuade them of that. It's a surcharge - pure and simple guaranteed margin. Would that be an appropriate example?

Re:FCC is faulty? (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661666)

Bad data == good data for a politician.

Especially when it's in favor of whatever they desire to happen. Politicians wanted healthcare so they generated a faulty "42.5 million americans uninsured" statistic. How? Using a couple mail-in postcards from voluntary recipients. Hardly scientific. (Real numbers from scientists estimate the number as 5-15 million uninsured U.S. citizens. +9 million if you include illegal non-citizens/intruders.)

And of course if the FCC stats show that ~40 million Americans don't have great than dialup speeds, that too works in politicians favor, and they'll justify it as a way to pass their favorite bill. (And also make their election funders happy.) Even on my DSL line which *never* falls below the advertised 750k, the FCC test showed only ~256k on the FCC test. Bogus.

Okay. Maybe I'm a little cynical.

Nah. I work for the government. More like - simple observation.

Re:FCC is faulty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31662304)

Could you cite the issue of "Real numbers from scientists" where you found that estimate? I have the january 2008-june 2009 issues but didn't see that statistic anywhere.

Re:FCC is faulty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31662546)

I've found a good way of dealing with the numbers politicans spew out is to take both sides and average it out...

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/aug/21/orrin-hatch/who-are-uninsured-hatchs-take/ [politifact.com]

http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2009/aug/18/barack-obama/number-those-without-health-insurance-about-46-mil/ [politifact.com]

Hey, look, reality is actually in the middle. Go fig.

Re:FCC is faulty? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31662702)

As long as we're throwing anecdotes around here, I might as well tell you what my connection scored.

What I pay for:
AT&T DSL, $30/month
D/L: 1.5Mbps up to 3.0Mbps (of course, they advertise the 3.0Mbps speed)
U/L: 768Kbps

What I get, according to the FCC speed tests (both of them!):
D/L: ~750Kbps
U/L: ~500Kbps
-> Interesting note: this is what I seem to actually get everywhere. Their speed tests have confirmed problems I've been dealing with for some time now.

I used to have a pre-Yahoo 1.5Mbps/768Kbps connection, and when I upgraded, it never went any faster (but the price dropped $5, due to me getting rid of the old grandfathered-in pricing plan). It was supposed to be 3.0M/768k after that. The best D/L speed I ever saw was around 1.5Mbps (its theoretical level, not the real-life 80% level). Then about 3 months ago, the speed dropped to half of what it was, and hasn't recovered. Their customer service is nearly useless (they could always be used as a bad example, but other than that...). I hope this recent FCC pressure at least gets them scared enough to fix their shit and give me what I'm paying for. Barring that, the state AG might like to know about widespread fraud...

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662978)

Real numbers from scientists estimate the number as 5-15 million uninsured U.S. citizens. +9 million if you include illegal non-citizens/intruders.

Senator Orrin Hatch [wikipedia.org] , a scientist???

Besides, here are his exact words. He doesn't even dispute the figures (because he does admit that they're uninsured). He just questions the assumption that those uninsured people even want insurance (which is a separate argument of its own, if you want to argue that, argue that, don't change the freaking numbers).

"By the way, of that 47 million people, when you deduct the ones who could have insurance through their employers but don't, you deduct the 11 million that basically qualify for CHIP or Medicaid but don't realize it (and) are not enrolled, you deduct those who are over $75,000 a year in income but just won't purchase their own health insurance, and then 6 million people who are illegal aliens, my gosh, when you put that all together, it leaves about 15 million people. So we're going to throw out a system that works for 15 million people."

And by the way, people without health insurance, whether they want that health insurance or not, do affect the rest of us. And unless Senator Hatch wants to repeal the law that mandates ambulances and emergency rooms from turning away patients, emergency rooms are going to keep on closing down.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 4 years ago | (#31663068)

Correction: I should have said that "that prevents [them] from turning away patients". By saying "mandates" instead of "prevents", I actually said the opposite of what I meant.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664618)

Never mind the fact that Hatch cleverly ignores the fact that he's double-dipping on the exclusions.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664596)

(Real numbers from scientists estimate the number as 5-15 million uninsured U.S. citizens. +9 million if you include illegal non-citizens/intruders.)

[citation needed]

My five minutes of googling has not come up with sources that agree with your figures. Typically, lowball figures like yours are due to the following errors:

1. They include only people without any insurance for the entire year, though at any given time during the year, a significantly higher number of people are uninsured.
2. They double-dip on the exclusions... for example, they deduct everyone making over $SOME_ARBITRARY_THRESHOLD as being able to afford it but choosing not to, and then they deduct $NUMBER_OF_ILLEGALS, falsely assuming that no individual belongs to both sets.
3. On the subject of exclusions, while we're at it: they state (as you did) that the number of uninsured is X, when they've deducted those who they deem able to afford it but chose not to. Those people are uninsured, and should be counted when you make a claim about the number of uninsured. If you instead make a claim about the number of uninsured not by choice, then you can exclude those people.
4. Exclusions, particularly the rich-enough-to-afford-it exclusion, are arbitrary. I've yet to see a valid analysis of how a family of 4 in central/northern NJ can afford health insurance on a family income of $35k -- yet $35k is the figure used in a lot of these studies.

In short, please provide a link to your source so we can determine if you're blowing smoke or not.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669756)

There's a simpler answer: The "45 million uninsured Americans" that politicians kept talking about actually ARE insured - by the government's existing programs. You're old, or you're a child, and when you enter the hospital you are instantly signed-up for Medicare or SCHIP. That drops the number to about 20 million instantly.

Also the stats come from about 5,000 mail-in surveys from voluntary respondents (the other persons threw-out the surveys). NOT an accurate scientific polling, therefore the "45 mil" number is invalid. It's no better than a guess.

But of course you don't want to hear it.

Like Mulder in the Xfiles, you'd rather "Believe the Lie"

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31671180)

There's a simpler answer: The "45 million uninsured Americans" that politicians kept talking about actually ARE insured - by the government's existing programs. You're old, or you're a child, and when you enter the hospital you are instantly signed-up for Medicare or SCHIP. That drops the number to about 20 million instantly.

Please provide a citation for that. No figures I have been able to find agree with that number.

Also the stats come from about 5,000 mail-in surveys from voluntary respondents (the other persons threw-out the surveys). NOT an accurate scientific polling, therefore the "45 mil" number is invalid. It's no better than a guess.

There have been other analyses, more rigorous, that come up with figures in the same ballpark. Are you trying to discredit all those studies as well by lumping them in with one dubious study (which, of course, you exaggerate the dubiousness of)?

But of course you don't want to hear it.

I DO want to hear it... this is why I asked you to provide a citation. Especially when you used an appeal to authority in your OP, that you can't actually back up with a citation to that authority ("actual scientists").

If you can't provide meaningful citations for your out-of-whack claims, I'll just continue to assume that you're pulling numbers out of the blogosphere or your ass in order to support your position.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

blair1q (305137) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662314)

They have jobs.

Now compare with your lot. All of you.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662504)

I have a better job?

I don't get it.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

cmacb (547347) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662324)

Obviously you don't understand the methodology here.

The failure of government is meant to convince us that we need to spend more money on government so they can do better testing to convince us we need to spend more money on government.

Re:FCC is faulty? (1)

Hurricane78 (562437) | more than 4 years ago | (#31666016)

Exactly. While the commercial employees function perfectly... while working hard to rape the money out of your as hard as they can. ^^

So? (-1, Flamebait)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661134)

Government policy decisions made based on inaccurate or misleading data? Surely you have heard of the Iraq war, right?

Be happy that in this case it is not complete fabrication.

Re:So? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661196)

Iraq War, Climategate, etc. etc. etc.

How Much (1, Interesting)

DeanFox (729620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661216)


I wonder which ISP owns comScore. Who got the worst rating?

Re:How Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661236)

Er shouldnt that be who got the best rating (or just around the best rating).

Re:How Much (1)

DeanFox (729620) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661290)


Sorry, I only thought about that later after submitting - there would be people who don't start their lists with zero. I was in the middle of a program and was thinking in terms of - figure out the owner by eliminating the non owners...

Re:How Much (1)

VGPowerlord (621254) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661270)

Think about it; What other ISP's name starts with com?

Re:How Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661342)

ComNAc? [comnac.com] But I don't see what they would have to gain from monkeying with the numbers.

Re:How Much (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661426)

They are not an ISP. They just a hosting company( and a really bad one in my opinion, their website looks crazy from firefox)

Re:How Much (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661468)

and a really bad one in my opinion, their website looks crazy from firefox

That's because it was created in FrontPage 5.0. It only barely renders properly in IE 7.

Re:How Much (1)

skids (119237) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662124)

Better question: who owns NetForcast?

Actually I'm inclined to chalk this one up as plain old sniping between competing performance testing companies, rather than either the FCC/pols or the ISPs trying to fudge numbers.

comScore got it more or less right (4, Insightful)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661254)

comScore got the data more or less right. The OP's main complaint seems to be that the speed is under-reported because packet loss causes the TCP session they used to slow down. Guess what? Packet loss causes the TCP session to slow down. Customers on ISPs with noticeable loss rates experience slower performance than the line's rated speed. Hello!

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661326)

The OP's main complaint seems to be that the speed is under-reported because packet loss causes the TCP session they used to slow down.

Other things cause TCP sessions to slow down too though. Like Windows XP with its lack of window scaling.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661386)

Like Windows XP with its lack of window scaling.

What are you talking about? There are all sorts of tweaking tools that let you enabled window scaling in Windows XP.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

atomicthumbs (824207) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661768)

And what percentage of Windows XP users do you think used those tools? I know I didn't.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (0, Troll)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661866)

It doesn't matter. He said it lacked window scaling. This is false because you can enable it through the registry or tweak tools.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (2, Insightful)

Bigjeff5 (1143585) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662564)

Technically false, but true in practice.

Better would have been to say Windows doesn't come with any such tools, and therefore the vast majority of people don't have access to such a feature because they lack the technical ability to get it.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661884)

>>>>>Like Windows XP with its lack of window scaling.
>>>
>>tweaking tools that let you enabled window scaling in Windows XP

I see a lot of XP bashing but even if it didn't have "window scaling" I still consider it the best Microsoft OS. Still better than Windows 6.1's (7) ribbon interface. I liked this OS at first, due to it fixing the Vista Beta release, but now I'm sick of it. The menus keep randomly moving around instead of staying put. Well..... at least it's not as bad as Microsoft's other bad idea (Bob) but still, why must MS "fix" what was never broke.

More info here: http://toastytech.com/guis/win72.html [toastytech.com]

Oh and no I don't "have" to like Windows 7.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662890)

If you're not causing latency with QoS and you're not going through a satellite loop, lack of window scaling doesn't become a major factor until you're in the 100mbps range, well beyond any but the largest of today's consumer broadband links.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31666064)

XP was written in the day when most Internet connections were either dialup, or broadband that was slow by today's standards (128, 256, 512 or 768 kbps DSL, for instance). A small window size is preferable for that kind of situation, and as you say, provided the latency is low, it scales up well to the 100Mbps range. So in the US with your sub-100ms latency to the majority of hosts, it's not really an issue. But if you are more geographically distant, window scaling matters a lot.

Here in Australia, the XP TCP/IP stack on its default settings can be a real throttle on Internet speed (due to being 10,000 miles and 300-400ms away from US hosts, and 500+ms from many European hosts). And let's face it ... most average users aren't going to be diving in and fiddling with their RWIN etc. The XP networking stack used to be the reason behind a LOT of "why is my Internet not meeting its advertised speed" problems. It usually manifests itself in the following way: downloading from an Australian site saturates your connection and you get the full advertised speed, but downloading from a US site only gets you half or less of that speed ... however if you open up multiple simultaneous downloads from that US site, you can still saturate the connection.

This problem was particularly prevalent in the period after the wide-scale introduction of ADSL2+ in Australia, which offers downstream speeds of up to 24 Mbps, but before the release of Vista. (As an aside, it seems as if ADSL2+ is really rare in the US ... most providers still seem to have ADSL1 only which is limited to 8Mbps or less - I suppose this is because you have cable in most places which offers ADSL2+ equivalent speeds or better)

Thankfully the default configuration in Mac OS, Linux, Vista and Win7 is a lot better adapted to high latency, high bandwidth connections, so these problems are becoming a thing of the past.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

Spazmania (174582) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669028)

If I correctly recall the article, comScore tested against the nearest Akamai server. That would have all but eliminated latency due to geographical distance.

As for ADSL2, it's mainly a political thing with the phone companies. They're required by law to unbnudle and sell copper pairs but if they deliver fiber they have an unregulated monopoly. So anywhere they'd seriously consider ADSL2 is getting fiber instead.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31672200)

Ah true. I was speaking more generally about whether XP's lack of window sizing 'mattered'. In relation to the comScore tests though you are right ... doesn't matter at all.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (4, Insightful)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661462)

Ya I pay for the "Extreme" Roadrunner in my area. which gives me a better upstream for my telecommuting wife. supposedly 10M/1M but it is more like 3M/768k, most of this is due to really high latency and dropped packets. When it works it works, so I guess by this guy's definition I get my 10/1, just as long as you don't count the packet loss...

Re:comScore got it more or less right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31666582)

I have the road runner "Turbo" which according to speedtest.net gives me on average 22down/1.5 up. but this is what I was supposed to be getting a few years ago , until they mysteriously dropped the rated package to 6/1 with Turbo, before I was paying for 15 down, and 1 up. I think its BS that I was paying for a higher rated service before, then they drop the rated speeds of the service without notice,and still raise the price for the same service.

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669928)

After some dicking around last night I did get it up to about 9.5Mb/.950Mb which isnt bad but then I found out I am supposed to be getting 15. What sucks is that a household can be paying for 15 and be getting 5 but no one would be the wiser, and TW will never tell you. There is no QoS or SA to honor....

Re:comScore got it more or less right (1)

COMON$ (806135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31669954)

The other funny part is, I only get the 10/1 when I go to a server about a mile from my house for testing. If I hit something say....300 miles away...the bandwidth goes down by two thirds...how is that for infrastructure...

Sounds like error in the 'good' direction (1)

ElSupreme (1217088) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661366)

At least they don't have data saying that our speeds are faster than they really are. This way the problem of 3rd world net speeds can be addressed.

And really the argument 'these scores are low because X slowed them down' is really not sound. If X really exists then the connection is slowed in real life. I would bet this is the results of what people expierence over the net. And should be plenty fine to help determine what needs to be done to get back in the same ballpark as the rest of the industrialized world.

Re:Sounds like error in the 'good' direction (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661982)

>>> This way the problem of 3rd world net speeds can be addressed.

What? The US has an average speed of 7.8 Mbit/s. Third world speeds are 3.6, 2.5, 1.8 in Chile, Brazil, or Argentina respectively. Or how about 1.9 for South Africa. Or 2.1 in China.

Compared to other continent-sized federations, the US is #2, behind Russia but ahead of the EU. The US is faaaaaar faster than a "third world speed"

Learn about statistics - both of you (2, Interesting)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661378)

Both sides need to learn more about statistics.

The report fails to mention that across a large enough population, the results will be more-or-less correct within a certain percentage point because as he mentions, some people will test with a lot of bandwidth available at a certain point but others will test with their available bandwidth constricted. Overall, out of a large enough population the outliers are washed away.

comScore needs to realize that correlation != causation. It's not because your bandwidth correlates with other users' high-bandwidth plans, that it is caused by you actually buying the plan. But even then, even in the report the statistics show that it evens out pretty good with only a small percentage error.

Off course this brief report reeks more like paid research. Off course comScore measures the users' experience connecting to large-bandwidth centers like Akamai which has a lot of large sites on it and it doesn't accurately measures what the provider offers in the last mile. I don't care that I actually get my 10Mbps connecting to my neighborhood (unless a bunch of my neighbors actually host the Linux-ISO torrent I want) I care about getting on average getting maybe 50% of what I pay for which I usually don't get (I get closer to 1-10% depending on what I'm doing). comScore accurately reflects the poor status of broadband in this metropolitan area - dual-ISDN speeds (early 90's) on the best high-tier packages money can buy in this area. The only alternative is DSL which is horribly outdated.

Need new ISP (2, Funny)

irn (1773184) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661518)

I guess I need a new ISP. According to the article there is roughly 17% of the population who at any given time is getting MORE bandwidth from their ISP than what they're paying for? Is that right? Did I misread the article? I'm sure comScore would have at least put me in a much lower tier than what I pay for. Something here doesn't seem right.

Re:Need new ISP (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662280)

I must be in that 17%. I get 20Mb/6Mb on my 12Mb/3Mb Comcast Business line a good 90% of the time. I have rarely seen it drop down to the 12Mb/6Mb that is advertised, and in the last year and a half, I have seen it drop down to 3Mb/1Mb for a total of about 10 hours across three different instances.

Now, I do pay $60/Month for my connection which is 3x the cost of Residential Comcast, but the extra $40/Month as been well worth it to me.

Re:Need new ISP (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 4 years ago | (#31664722)

Probably just a slight slip, but isn't Comcast Business Basic 12/2 for $60?

FYI, next town over from me has Comcast, and their residential lowest tier service (15/3) is $43 a month. You can get it for $20 for 6 months if you bundle with Comcast Cable or Voice.

Re:Need new ISP (1)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31665034)

It may be 12/2 and not 12/3. I might be forgetting given that I am almost always at 20/6. If the $20 rate is only for 6 months, then it is even a worse deal to go with Residential.

HTTP measurement is not enough (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31661690)

In those times of traffic shapping and deep packet inspection, test results are always awesome. I can get more than 20Mbit/s on tests with my 6Mbit/s rate comcast line. I can see 2MB sustained download speed over http. I can also see crippled 256kbit/s SSH transfer rate, dut to traffic shapping, and out the roof latency (say 400ms) on anything that is not going to port 80. Tests always look good, but for all practical purposes, this connexion is crap.

Complicated? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 4 years ago | (#31661702)

As if dslreports.com isn't useful?

Sheesh

a few somewhat valid points, but mostly garbage. (2, Interesting)

azmodean+1 (1328653) | more than 4 years ago | (#31662206)

So here is the outline of their claims, with responses.
Data gathering errors
    Only one TCP connection is used
        Basically valid, it's a pretty rare net activity nowadays that actually maxes out the connection by itself, no idea if the promises the ISPs make contractually include any wording about per-connection performance.
    Client-server delay is variable
        Tough, this is a reality of how the network operates, if an ISP promises speed X, they need to invest in the infrastructure necessary to deliver speed X.
    Participants’ computers may be resource constrained
        Outside of listing minimum requirements for client computers, this is also a reality of how the customer will perceive network performance, and this is the important measure.
    Test traffic may conflict with home traffic
        semi valid-ish point, but I'm skeptical that it has a noticeable impact.
    Decimal math is incorrect
        This one seems like utter crap, they seem to be assuming that the testing company is saying MB and meaning MiB in one case, but that they say MB and really mean MB in another case. It's far more likely that they are saying MB and they mean MiB in both cases, in which case this point is moot.
    Protocol overhead is unaccounted for
        Another semi-valid point, but they claim the testers have the responsibility to make the ISPs numbers look better, why isn't it instead the ISPs responsibility to make their numbers more meaningful? IIRC, speeds are often advertised on the basis of file downloads, which means the protocol overhead should NOT be accounted for.
Data interpretation errors
      Purchased speed tiers are incorrectly identified
          This is probably the most significant claim, if true. However it's also the most wishy-washy of all the claims, going so far as to specifically state that it's the opinion of the company that it is even happening, rather than a factual claim:
          "NetForecast estimates that it is highly likely that comScore incorrectly places many panelists' PCs into higher tiers than the subscribers purchased."

Overall, the report looks like a tiny bit of valid criticism of the testing methodology wrapped in a whole lot of weaseling about what the ISP should be expected to provide, and always siding with the ISP. The end result for me is that the validity of the entire report is fatally undermined by the obvious grasping at straws being done, and the impression that I get that if there were any errors in the opposite direction, they will not be reported.

I wish... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31664278)

I wish I could get the horrible low speeds these poor people are getting. I'm in Australia, feel free to commence your laughter now.

Re:I wish... (1)

Cimexus (1355033) | more than 4 years ago | (#31666118)

Frankly I've lived in both the US and Australia and you are subject to the luck of the draw in both countries. There are plenty of places in Australia where you can get connections better than many places in the US. There are also awful Internet blackholes which are, I agree, hell on earth. E.g. places covered only by RIMs or with terrible backhaul congestion.

I lived in the US for a couple of years in a mid-sized city and the fastest home connection I could get was DSL from AT&T at 6000/768 (down/up in kbps). Back here in Australia, in a similar sized city, I get 18Mbps/2Mbps ADSL2+ (using Annex M for the faster uploads). But I do understand that's just an anecdote. There are places in the US that you can get incredible speeds (FiOS-covered areas, for instance). And there are many places in Australia where ADSL2+ is a distant dream.

The point is though that you can't paint either country with a broad brush - the US isn't ~all~ a broadband paradise, and Australia isn't ~all~ terrible. The US also suffers from essentially having one DSL monopoly and one cable monopoly in most areas, cf. Australia where if you can get ADSL, you can almost always get it through a wide choice of providers (even if it's really just resold Telstra Wholesale in some areas).

The Finger (1)

bahamuut (9035) | more than 4 years ago | (#31670132)

"The Secure features a fingerprint scanner and a thermal sensor 'so that the finger alone, detached from the body, will still not give access to the memory stick's contents."
I'm sure that if someone went through the trouble of removing the finger to access the Secure Pro, then they'd go through the trouble of warming the dead finger up so that they could have access. seems kinda gimmicky to me...

Check for New Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>