Most broadband USers ignorant of connection speed

The US Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday released a survey that found widespread ignorance among broadband users about the speed at which they're sending and receiving data.

The survey, conducted by Abt/SRBI and Princeton Survey Research Associates, International during the period from April 19 to May 2, 2010, involved 3,005 adults, 1,742 of whom subscribed to broadband Internet services.

It found that 80% of broadband users don't know the speed at which they're surfing the Web. This is consistent with a study conducted by the Pew Internet & American Life Project in 2006 which found that 81% of U.S. Internet users didn't know their home connection speed.

At the same time, Internet users don't seem to care much about what they don't know: 91% said they're "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with the speed they're getting.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski nonetheless argues that speed matters. "The more broadband subscribers know about what speeds they need and what speeds they get, the more they can make the market work and push faster speeds over broadband networks," he said in a statement.

Toward that end, the FCC is asking for 10,000 volunteers who are willing to help the agency measure broadband network speeds in the U.S. The study will involve the installation of network speed monitoring equipment in participants' homes.

Aspiring participants can register at

The agency is also seeking input on how to best conduct a similar study on mobile broadband speeds. Interested parties are invited to comment at the agency's Web site.

According to the FCC's National Broadband Plan, advertised Internet download speeds have grown by about 20% annually for the past 10 years.

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