FCC: 80% of users are clueless about broadband speeds

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According to the FCC, around four out of five consumers are clueless about the speed of their broadband connection. In a survey released earlier this week, the agency found that some 80% of consumer broadband users in the United States don't know the speed of their connection. Despite that ignorance, more than 90% were either "very" or "somewhat" satisfied with their service.

Nonetheless, the FCC is launching two initiatives to better control what broadband speeds consumers are receiving regardless of their satisfaction levels. One is reportedly a $600,000 study that will measure broadband speeds in the homes of 10,000 voluntary participants, and the other is simply a call for consumer feedback on how to measure mobile broadband speeds.

That finding isn't particularly staggering, after all, most people aren't interested in technical minutiae as long as everything works. That isn't to say consumers don't care about a speedy connection, however. "If they don't know their speed and they're happy, then they're basically saying it's not paramount in the consumer's mind to know their exact speed," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

Whether folks care about their bandwidth rate is one thing, but the FCC believes they shouldn't be overpaying for Internet access. Based on the agency's analysis, consumers often receive a connection that is only half the advertised speed. "If people are unaware of speeds, they could be effectively overpaying for broadband," Genachowski said.

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