New York wants your help in probe over Internet speeds

The state attorney general wants to make sure Internet speeds from your provider are as fast as advertised. How can you help?

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read

The New York attorney general wants to know if your Internet speed up to snuff.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Hey, New Yorkers, is your Internet speed as fast as you think it should be? A new investigation aims to find out, with your help.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent letters in October to Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Cablevision asking for proof that their advertised Internet speeds are accurate. On Sunday, the attorney general's office asked New Yorkers to take an online test that checks their Internet performance and provide the results to Schneiderman's staff.

Schneiderman's concern is that you may not be getting the speed you're paying for, especially if you're doling out money for a high-speed package.

A variety of factors can affect your Internet performance, but the attorney general seems focused on technical issues and interconnection agreements. These agreements provide a direct connection between companies that exchange Internet traffic, such as Netflix and Comcast. Critics says interconnection agreements pose a threat to Net neutrality, which seeks to ensure that all traffic is treated equally, by giving preferential treatment to those who can pay more.

If you want to share your own Internet speed results with the attorney general's office (assuming you live in New York), you'll need to take an online test, via Internethealthtest.org, and get a screenshot of the results of your Internet performance. Next, fill out an online form with the name of your Internet provider, the way you connect to the Internet, your contact information and any comments you wish to share. You then submit the form to the attorney general's office.

There is no deadline for consumers to submit the results of the test. The results will provide the attorney general's office with a sample of what Internet speeds consumers are receiving individually, though this is just one aspect of the investigation.

Internet speeds can vary considerably throughout a given period of time. The challenge for the attorney general's office will be to not only find the slowdowns but determine their source. Time Warner Cable and Verizon said they are confident in the Internet speeds they deliver to customers.

A spokesman for Verizon added that the company has been "working cooperatively with the attorney general's office on this matter."

Cablevision has also previously said it stands by the speeds of its Internet access and would work with the attorney general's office to provide all the necessary information, Reuters reported on Sunday.

Update, 1:25 p.m. PT: Adds comment from Time Warner Cable and Verizon.