Your government needs you…again. The Federal Communications Commission today began the “2012 Measuring Broadband America” process, issuing a Public Notice (click here for more information) announcing the next round of tests and calling on consumers across the country to volunteer as participants when it comes to measuring U.S. broadband performance.

“Volunteers will provide crucial real data to evaluate ISP broadband performance claims and empower the ability of consumers to compare ISPs in meaningful ways,” the agency says. “Volunteers who sign up will receive a free wireless router from SamKnows, the FCC’s contractor, which will be programmed to measure broadband speeds delivered to the home and detailed reports on the performance of their broadband service.”  Click here to sign up.

Expanding its effort to empower consumers, the FCC plans to issue two Measuring Broadband America reports in 2012. It also is expanding the study to include more technologies, extending the study into new regions of the country and planning to publish more kinds of data. The first round of testing for 2012 will begin in March. The FCC will continue its commitment to test and report broadband information transparently in collaboration with key stakeholders.  ??

The background: The first Measuring Broadband America Report (click here for more information) examined service offerings from 13 of the largest wireline broadband providers; it used automated, direct measurements of the broadband performance of thousands of volunteer broadband customers during March 2011. The study measured speed and performance of broadband is delivered to the home so that different service providers and technologies could be compared scientifically.

According to the commission, the report established for the first time that the majority of service providers were delivering performance approaching or exceeding the levels they advertised to their customers. It also identified ISPs that fell short of advertised speeds. A few months after the Report was released, the FCC says it noticed a "significant improvement" by a major ISP and announced the results in a blog post (click here for more information). ? 

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