In July of 2018, the Federal Communications Commission issued Order DA 18-710, which contained new standards for latency and network speed measurements. For Internet Service Providers who benefited from the Connect America Fund initiative, complying with these standards is mandatory. However, even ISPs that aren’t required to comply with these standards by law should take them into consideration in order to provide the best service to customers.
About FCC Guidelines
Under FCC guidelines, ISPs were required to begin network testing by the third quarter of 2019. Test results must be submitted by July of 2020. To comply with FCC requirements, tests must run between the hours of 6 PM and 12 AM local time, and they must continue for one week. Speed measurements should be collected at least once per hour during the testing window. Latency measurements should run every minute during the testing window. Latency tests must be run with no more than 50 subscribers in each state, selected at random. Speed tests must be run with no more than 50 subscribers per speed tier per state, selected at random.
The FCC allows ISPs to conduct their own network testing, use off-the-shelf testing solutions or use Measure Broadband America testing, which is part of a network testing framework the FCC promotes.
Passing the Tests
In order to pass the speed test under FCC guidelines, at least 80 percent of measurements taken must be equal to or higher than the stated upload or download. To pass the latency test, at least 95 percent of measurements taken between the customer and the remote server must be no more than 100 ms.
Is Your Provider Following FCC Guidelines?
While some Internet Service Providers are required to follow FCC guidelines and conduct speed and latency tests, others are not. Nonetheless, the best ISPs will take these measurements on a regular basis regardless of FCC guidelines in order to ensure that their customers are receiving the best service at all times. If your ISP is not testing speed and latency, you could be paying for a quality of service you aren’t actually receiving.
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