Does your Broadband Live Up to its Speed Claims?

John Lister's picture

The attorney general of New York has asked Internet users in the state to test and submit their Internet speeds. Eric Schneiderman says the move is part of a probe to see if broadband providers are making misleading speed claims.

Schneiderman is asking users in the state to visit, which is an independently run site. The site runs a simple download speed test to work out an average speed. (Source:

Results Must Be Sent Via Screenshot

Unfortunately, Schneiderman's office was unable to automated the process for sharing the results with other government officials. When users run the speed test, they must take a screenshot manually (using CTRL + Print Screen on the keyboard), paste and save an image in a program such as Paint or Word, then submit the resulting file using a form at the Attorney General website.

This is a rather complicated method and will likely deter users, but appears to be the only way to share the results graphically. The test automatically detects and lists the user's location, which should deter all but the most determined of out-of-state users trying to (pointlessly) submit results.

Back in October, Schneiderman announced he was looking into the issue of misleading speed claims from broadband firms. His office has written to the three main broadband providers in the state, including Cablevision, Time Warner and Verizon, asking for evidence of how well their services actually perform. (Source:

Disputes May Make 'Premium' Plans Pointless

The letter also asks for details of any interconnection agreements, which determine how the data makes its way through cables owned by multiple companies. This includes the path way in which data travels from a website and to a user, and back again. Schneiderman believes disputes between companies over this agreement may be slowing down speeds for users who have paid extra for premium "high-speed" connections.

Another request in the letter is for details of the training staff get about how they market the services to customers, with the implication being that some claims may be or prove misleading.

The threat of the probe, along with the call for evidence from users, comes shortly after Schneiderman hired Tim Wu as his senior enforcement counsel. Wu is a long-time advocate on Internet issues and came up with the term "net neutrality."

What's Your Opinion?

Do you think there's value in getting users to submit test results to compare with advertised speeds? Would you like to see a similar program in your area? Will the results be illuminating or could they be biased because people who know their speeds are disappointing are more likely to go to the effort of taking the test and submitting results?

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Dennis Faas's picture

The way in which the test results are shared is very low tech and prone to error. It's too bad there wasn't another way to share the results graphically. I did visit the site to verify this and the only other way to share the results was through a link (automatically generated). When it comes to reading complaints, I doubt government officials are going to click links to view the results for every submission. In that case, the CTRL + Printscreen method is a much more efficient way to get the job done.

alan.cameron_4852's picture

I think you have the wrong URL. Should it not be

Dennis Faas's picture

Yes, the .com is incorrect. is the correct URL and I've updated the post.

doliceco's picture

Going to "" gets a 404 error. Nothing on "" works! Please advise?

spiras's picture

works fine for me.

Phil's picture

I'm in Cambridge, MA and typically get results two to three times as fast as this test reported for my machine, using TestMyNet and pointed at local servers.

It may be fine for New York's purposes to hard-code it this way, but it greatly limits its usefulness in other places.