Title II Fans Launch Net Neutrality 'Detector'

Only days after the Government Accountability Office suggested the FCC should seek third-party data on broadband speed and performance, a group of network neutrality activists have launched the Internet Health Test, which they call a kind of network neutrality detector.

In reclassifying the FCC under Title II common carrier regs, the FCC added to bright-line rules a general conduct standard for anything that has the effect of impeding an open Internet.

According to backers of the new online health test—Demand Progress, Fight for the Future and the Free Press Action Fund—the test is an interactive tool that lets Web surfers "run speed measurements across multiple interconnection points and collect data on whether and where Internet service providers are degrading online speeds and violating Net Neutrality."

The groups supported tough new open Internet regs under Title II because they believe the issue is not "whether" but "where" ISPs are degrading service.

"After repeatedly watching Internet service providers slow down people’s Internet connections we're not going to just sit back and trust Comcast, Verizon and AT&T to follow the new open Internet rules,” said Fight for the Future campaign manager Charlie Furman. “The Internet Health Test is our way of sending a message to ISPs everywhere that we're watching and we won't let anyone throttle the Internet.”

The groups are hoping to use the data to buttress any complaints they might file at the FCC.

Those rules are not in place yet, and associations representing the major telco and cable ISPs are trying to keep it that way, having filed a stay request with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit asking it to stay the June 12 effective date of the new rules until it hears their underlying challenges to Title II reclassification.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.