The General Accounting Office has released a new report chiding U.S. Internet providers and regulators for not doing better in letting customers know about the speed and quality of their broadband connections. The GAO says that the lack of a standardized format to report on connection quality makes it hard for consumers to make informed decisions about which ISP to choose. Unfortunately, ISPs are not eager to share this kind of information, as shortcomings in service may as simple as heavy use across the network, or it may be a sign of a lack of network infrastructure investment, a data point no ISP wants to publicize.
The GAO also noted that the FCC needs to improve its methods of collecting information about broadband performance, share the information with the general public, and depend less on the information the ISPs themselves provide. The best case scenario? Reports from the FCC that show not only which ISP is fastest, but also, which one has the most consistent and high-quality connection, and which is the most cost-effective.