The internet was very influential to me growing up. Emulators, troubleshooting, gaming, online shopping, the flash animations and games.... it was all a big part of my life growing up in my childhood. I was lucky enough to really experience the internet in one of its rapidly evolving states starting around 1997 or so. Even though I was limited a 44k or so dialup connection at a maximum of about 2 hours or so a night, I savored every minute.
Fast forward to today, or even a half a decade ago, and broadband has become a modern mainstay of American homes. Expecting a page to load in a few minutes has now become a few seconds, Video content that would take days or weeks a decade ago are downloaded within an hour by 29.2 billion people via a rather popular service titled "Netflix". This service now accounts for nearly 1/3 of internet traffic during peak hours in the United States.
So why create an internet performance measuring system? The United States still has far to go. The FCC has yet to mandate/enforce a well-defined rule on what broadband is, despite its initiatives and the Connect America fund. In my own particular experience, the one (and only) DSL option in my hometown area is Windstream, who received $653,325 in Connect America's phase one. Windstream has the complaint information on the Federal Business Bureau at the time of this post:
According to BBB files, Windstream Communications, Inc. has a pattern of consumer complaints alleging slow or inferior Internet speeds. Consumers typically allege that the Internet speeds provided by Windstream are slower than those advertised by the company and that attempts to resolve Internet speed issues directly with the company are unsuccessful. Windstream has responded to some complaints stating that it cannot guarantee error-free, uninterrupted service and that service performance will vary based on factors such as computer member, age of the computer, and Internet congestion. The company has responded to other complaints by stating that it is aware of Internet traffic issues in a consumer's area and that it is working diligently to resolve Internet speed issues by installing new equipment and system upgrades. Windstream typically advises that there is no timeline the company can provide as to when the upgrades will be completed.
Not the best reputation for a company. It's hard to say if this is due to over-utilization or some other factors, the data is there. See this post for information collected from an alpha version of Ping Collector from my mother's connection in Holbrook, PA.
I want the same or better opportunity for children to learn, entertain, and grow with the fascinating world of the Internet that I had. I'm sad to admit that despite the technological advancements, I have seen instability to a greater degree at times than I had back in the late 90s. Furthermore, Ping Collector is meant to be a tool to improve broadband quality and provide data one step closer to the truth. This is why I created Ping Collector.