You don’t always get what you pay for in internet access. Most places only have one option, so you’re stuck picking the good plan or the bad plan from a single carrier, and if the expensive “broadband” plan turns out to be closer to dial-up speeds, there isn’t much you can do. And that’s without getting into the big swaths of the country that don’t even have a broadband option on the table.
So we’re joining with Consumer Reports to take a close look at the problem, collecting as many internet bills as we can to get a sense of which telecoms are holding up their end of the bargain — and which ones are falling short. The idea is to get a bird’s-eye view of the speeds people are actually getting, and what they’re paying for those speeds.
To get there, we want to take a look at your internet bill. Consumer Reports has put together a site to collect your information and do a quick speed test. The whole thing should take about seven minutes, and you’ll be doing your part to build a better internet.
A few quick notes on privacy: your bill will be encrypted as soon as you update it, and Consumer Reports has pledged to only record relevant data such as price, bundle, speed, and hidden fees, and they’ll delete bills when they’re no longer needed. The site will ask you to create a login as a way to keep the information private and safe, but you won’t have to pay for anything and no personally identifiable information will be shared with outside researchers. You can get more answers about the specifics here.
We’re hoping this project will give us tens of thousands of bills to pore through, and spur on some great investigations for later on in the year. So head over to the site and show us your bill — and in a few months, we’ll tell you what we found.