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Broadband Speed

Are you confused by all the ads for “blazing fast” internet plans? Know the speed you need - for example, whether you need a fast speed for gaming, or whether a slower speed will do. Choosing the right broadband provider and plan for your needs can be complicated, but there are strategies for navigating the process.

A recent FCC survey found that 80 percent of broadband users in the United States don’t know the speed of their broadband connection. Many people don’t know what speed they are paying for, or what they are getting compared to what the broadband provider is claiming to offer.

Here’s what you need to know about broadband speed and how to do a quick speed test. The FCC’s Consumer Task Force offers these tips for making the best broadband decision for you:

  • Know the speed you need - for example, whether you need a fast speed for gaming, or whether a slower speed will do.
  • If you’re choosing a broadband provider for the first time, consider speed, price, and service.
  • Choose a service tier that offers the best value.
  • Ask about the contract and hidden fees such as early termination fees.
  • Factors like a slow router or computer, using the Web at peak times, or using high-bandwidth applications can slow down your connection.
  • If your web connection seems too slow, and it’s not due to one of the reasons above, call your broadband provider.
  • If you’re using wireless broadband, look at all your choices.

Consumer Broadband Test

Consumer Information


Broadband Satisfaction: What consumers report about their broadband Internet provider
Word | Acrobat

Broadband Decisions: What drives consumers to switch – or stick with – their broadband Internet provider
Word | Acrobat

Broadband Made Simple: Tips for Getting the Speed You Need
Word | Acrobat

Survey: Americans’ perspectives on online connection speeds for home and mobile devices
Word | Acrobat

News & Notices

FCC Survey Finds 4 Out of 5 Americans Don't Know Their Broadband Speeds.
News Release: Word | Acrobat (06/01/2010)

Comment Sought on Measurement of Mobile Broadband Network Performance and Coverage
Public Notice: Word | Acrobat (06/01/2010)

For More Information

You can also contact the FCC’s Consumer Center for more information about Broadband speeds or other communications issues by calling 1-888-CALL-FCC (1-888-225-5322) voice 1-888-TELL-FCC (1-888-835-5322) TTY; or writing to:

Federal Communications Commission
Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau
Consumer Inquiries and Complaints Division
445 12th Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20554.

Reviewed: October 28, 2014

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