How fast is your Internet?
Last month the City of Seattle launched a new tool to collect resident internet speeds. To date, nearly 1,600 tests have been taken.
The Seattle Broadband Speed Test tool measures the upload and download speeds available to residential users at the time they take the test. Using this test, residents can check their speeds from any device at any time of day. When enough data is collected from a given census block, the results are displayed on a map. The data are also published to the City’s open data portal, data.seattle.gov.
Today, 97 percent of Seattle households can connect to broadband internet and more than 160,000 homes have access to gigabit fiber-to-the-premise broadband. Some households have a choice of two, and in some areas three, wired broadband providers; and most parts of the city have access to four or more wireless broadband providers. In practice, however, many households do not experience peak speeds due to using devices with older networking technologies, experiencing wireless interference or slowness during peak usage times, or purchasing slower or no home internet at all.
The crowdsourced data will help the City and its partners make data-driven decisions when prioritizing future broadband and digital equity efforts. Currently, the City is reducing barriers to broadband investment, investing in public/private partnerships, and exploring ways we can increase access to the internet in underserved areas. Over the past 18 months, these strategies have resulted in an increase in access to gigabit-speed broadband from 7 percent of Seattle households to more than 60 percent.
The Seattle Broadband Speed Test was developed in partnership with New America’s Open Technology Institute and Open Seattle. It utilizes technology provided by Measurement Lab (M-Lab), a consortium of research, industry, and public interest partners that collects Open Internet performance data. This technology is also used by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission for its Measuring Broadband America study.
Link to: www.newamerica.org/oti
Learn more about M-Lab: www.measurementlab.net
Learn more about Open Seattle: www.openseattle.org