Today, 35 mayors and city officials from Next Century Cities partner communities sent a letter to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)  urging uniform and accessible reporting on broadband network performance. The letter was prompted by the findings of a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, “BROADBAND PERFORMANCE: Additional Actions Could Help FCC Evaluate its Efforts to Inform Consumers.”

The GAO report found that current FCC requirements on network performance do not obligate providers to use standard measurements, while existing FCC reports on network performance are written in technical language that limits their usefulness to consumers. As the report found:

“FCC’s ability to evaluate its efforts is limited by a lack of useful performance information and relevant performance goals and measures. For instance, while FCC obtains information about the effectiveness of its efforts from stakeholders’ comments and consumers’ complaints, FCC has not sought performance information from more objective sources, such as consumer research—as has been done by other government entities. Further, although consumer complaints can provide FCC with valuable insights on topics of interest to the commission, FCC has acknowledged that complaints may not provide a complete picture of consumer’s information needs and some industry stakeholders have questioned FCC’s reliance on complaints as a basis for making decisions.”

In support of this effort to provide clarity and transparency in the provision of broadband services, 35 Next Century Cities member communities wrote:

“Efforts to develop this core infrastructure are impeded when our citizens are unable to accurately gauge the quality and speed of their Internet…As broadband Internet becomes increasingly critical to the well-being of towns and cities across the country, being able to reliably measure and compare network performance will help to ensure that we, as elected leaders, are delivering the essential infrastructure our communities need.”

You can read the official letter here, as well as our official press release here.