FCC partners with UK firm to measure fixed-line broadband connections

The FCC announced today that it has selected SamKnows Limited, a London-based firm that measures and analyzes broadband speeds, to do just that for U.S. Internet users.

Giving consumers more information about their broadband connections is a key theme of the National Broadband Plan. The FCC says arming consumers with moe ways to measure and understand the services they receive will help keep the broadband providers accountable.

A few weeks ago, the FCC set up a tool on its Web site to let Americans measure their connection speeds. But too many variables play into those results to get an accurate reading of real-time speeds.

So, after soliciting bids from third-party firms to perform independent tests of broadband services, the FCC chose SamKnows Limited, which recently completed a similar project for Ofcom, the FCC's counterpart in the United Kingdom.

"In a couple of weeks, we will be asking for consumers from across the country to voluntarily install hardware in their homes (on an opt-in basis) that is capable of measuring broadband performance," wrote FCC advisor Dave Vorhaus in a blog.  "The measurements will give us results across a broad swath of providers, service tiers and geographic areas."

The FCC says it will release a public notice in the next few days to detail SamKnows' technical approach and methodology.

Alex Salter, CEO of SamKnows, said, "We’re delighted to be building on the success of the work we’ve undertaken in the UK over the past three years where we’ve uncovered a clear discrepancy between what the ISP's are saying and what the consumer is actually receiving."

Follow the company on Twitter: @samknows.