The Federal Communications Commission surprised us all earlier this year when it put forth new net neutrality guidelines that were hugely pro-consumer. Yes, there may be a loophole or two. And yes, some internet service providers are already looking for different ways to hurt subscribers that don’t violate net neutrality. In the current climate, however, we’re not sure a more favorable set of rules could have been crafted by the FCC and its former cable lobbyist boss, Tom Wheeler.
Of course, creating better net neutrality guidelines is one thing — but policing ISPs and ensuring they adhere to the new rules is an entirely different can of worms.
BattlefortheNet.com is a website supported by three well-known open internet groups: Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and the Free Press Action Fund. This week, the site announced the launch of its new “Internet Health Test,” a free test it urges all users to perform regularly in order to help ensure that their ISPs are not violating net neutrality.
“After repeatedly watching Internet service providers slow down people’s Internet connections we’re not going to just sit back and trust Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to follow the new open Internet rules,” Fight for the Future campaign manager Charlie Furman said. “The Internet Health Test is our way of sending a message to ISPs everywhere that we’re watching and we won’t let anyone throttle the Internet.”
Performing the test is simple. Just visit http://battleforthenet.com/internethealthtest/ from your computer and click the “Start the test” link. A new window will open and perform a series of speed tests, searching for any signs of degradation in the process.
“Large Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have degraded the performance of their customer’s traffic as a tactic to convince content and application providers to pay added ‘tolls’ to deliver content that Internet users have already requested and paid for,” BattleForThenet.com says on its new Internet Health Test website. “The battleground — where this degradation takes place — is at ISP interconnection points. These are the places where traffic requested by ISP customers crosses between the ISP’s network and another network on which content and application providers host their services.”
The site continues, “This test measures whether interconnection points are experiencing problems. It runs speed measurements from your (the test user’s) ISP, across multiple interconnection points, thus detecting degraded performance.”
According to the site — and to logic — the test becomes more and more effective in policing ISPs as more people use it.