New York Attorney General Seeks Public's Help To Shame ISPs For Subpar Broadband Speeds

New York is a crowded place, but that's no excuse for ISPs to deliver under performing broadband service. To prevent that from happening, the state's Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, is asking the public to visit a special website designed to test their Internet speed as part of an ongoing investigation.

The Attorney General's probe currently targets three ISPs, including Verizon, Cable Vision, and Time Warner Cable. Schneiderman sent all three a letter asking for various details, such as any speed tests the companies have run on their own and any disclosures they've sent to customers about their broadband service.

To help with the probe, Schneiderman's office setup, a website that tests a visitor's speed. The Attorney General is hoping to collect screenshots of test results from New York residents to help determine if they're receiving the service they're paying for. There's also an online form to fill out.

Internet Health Test

Schneiderman's concern is rooted in interconnection contracts. These refer to the linking of two or more networks for the mutual exchange of traffic, such as the one Verizon inked with Level 3 earlier this year.

"As the Internet continues to grow and evolve, Internet service providers are negotiating business arrangements that allow exchange of Internet traffic in a scalable, resilient and reliable manner," Verizon said at the time. "This agreement contains provisions to add capacity and establish new interconnection locations between the two networks to stay ahead of growing traffic demands."

These agreements don't always come easy. One of Schneiderman's concerns is that business disputes could cause disruption or degradation in service. The same is true of any technical issues that might arise.

I don't live in the New York area, but for spits and giggles, I ran Scheiderman's speed test. It showed that my average download speed was 19.20Mbps, far less than the 62.90Mbps reported immediate after. Uploads were roughly the same with both reporting greater than 4.20Mbps.

It should be noted that SpeedTest uses servers as close to your location as possible, hence part of the reason for the disparity.