Are you getting the broadband speed you pay for?
Would you test it if you could?
The U.S. is behind the rest of the world in every broadband measure -- in speed, price and percentage of households that subscribe, said Debbie Goldman, a member of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine's broadband task force. That group will issue a report this fall on what Virginia can do to promote broadband service, which is considered a key economic development measure for any locality.
Broadband is considered any Internet service that delivers 768 kilobits per second or more of download speed.
Goldman also is coordinator of the Speedmatters.org project, to educate the public and promote policies that encourage public-private partnerships that would promote more broadband deployment and increased customer adoption.
The project's first annual report showed average U.S. download speeds of 1.9 megabits per second, compared with 61 megabits per second in Japan.
The Speedmatters.org Web site is provided by the Communications Workers of America, a union representing workers in the telecommunications industry. When the best Internet service is available, Goldman said, there is more job security for CWA members.
The site offers one of many Internet speed tests that allow consumers to determine whether they are getting the Web speed their provider promised.
We would like you take the test at home and report your results for download and upload speeds for a later article.
Send your results to the e-mail address at the end of this story, and include your location and broadband service provider.
Rob Atkinson, with the Information Technology and Information Foundation, a Washington think tank, said consumers might also want to go to a Virginia Tech Web site -- http://www.ecorridors.vt.edu/ -- that provides a speed test coupled to Google Maps. At the site, click on the "broadband map" image on the right side of the page to go to the speed test.
If enough people took the test within half a year, Tech would have a good map of broadband service and speeds throughout Virginia, Atkinson said. He said he has talked with the Federal Communications Commission about expanding the Tech mapping concept nationwide.
Contact Greg Edwards at (804) 649-6390 or firstname.lastname@example.org.