Lawmakers asked for review of consumers’ access to broadband performance information


Washington (May 18, 105) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), and Rep. Prank Pallone, Jr. (D-N.J.) and Rep. Anna G. Eshoo (D-Calif.) today released the following statement after the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the new report “BROADBAND PERFORMANCE: Additional Actions Could Help FCC Evaluate its Efforts to Inform Consumers”, which describes the difficultly for consumers in accessing accurate broadband performance information such as speed, reliability and availability. Senator Markey, then-Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Rep. Eshoo originally requested the report in 2011.


The GAO found that it is difficult for consumers to get accurate information about the performance of their broadband services because Internet service providers (ISPs) are not required to disclose this information in a standardized or easy-to-read format. The GAO also found that consumers are largely unaware of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) reports on broadband performance partially because these reports are technical, do not include local information and are not directed at a general audience.


“Access to the Internet is no longer a luxury, it is a necessity to apply for jobs, complete homework, and communicate in the 21st century,” the lawmakers said. “Consumers need clear, easily accessible information about broadband speeds in order to decide which products and Internet service providers are best for them. The GAO points out that ISPs currently do not provide easy-to-understand data on broadband performance, and that the lack of a standardized format to disclose this data makes it difficult for consumers to compare between providers.


“We call on the FCC to work with ISPs to provide consumers with standardized, easy-to-read information about broadband performance, so that it is crystal clear what consumers are paying for when they buy Internet access. We ask the FCC to help consumers by providing them with accessible and useful information about broadband speeds and service.”


A copy of the GAO report can be found HERE.

Senator Markey is a member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. Rep. Pallone is Ranking Member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Rep. Eshoo is Ranking Member on the Communications and Technology Subcommittee.