Comcast contacting customers about testing broadband (SamKnows)

I have not yet received a letter like the following from my broadband provider – but Bill Coleman got his this week and kindly allowed me to share. While I didn’t get a letter, I have volunteered to have them test my speed. I have suspected for some time that I don’t come close to the advertised speed so I hope they pick me. If you too are suspicious of your speeds I encourage you to sign up too.

Dear Customer,

As part of the National Broadband plan, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) has begun a project to measure broadband performance. This test will cover certain aspects of an Internet connection, including the speed of downloading a large file. The purpose of the project is to obtain information about American broadband performance.

As one of the leading service providers in the United States, Comcast is working with the FCC to ensure that the performance measurement tests are comprehensive and accurate.

The FCC is looking for volunteers to help in the project. If you’re interested in participating with the FCC in this project, please visit If you are then selected, you will be sent a new NETGEAR router enabled with the “SamKnows” performance measurement software selected by the FCC for your installation at your residence.

Comcast has not provided your name or contact information to the FCC, SamKnows or any other person in connection with this project. Your participation is completely voluntary and at your discretion. Based upon the information provided to us by SamKnows and the FCC, the software you would install only measures the performance of your Internet connection, and will give you access to the kinds of data that was only previously available with very expensive network monitoring tools. The FCC and SamKnows also will assure you that your personal information will be strictly protected and at no time will any personal information be shared or made available without your consent.

Once your router is up and running, you will be able to view all of your performance data via a secure online reporting system. Over the next few months the FCC will work towards releasing a report detailing the performance of American broadband.

To find out more, please go to

Kind regards,


For further information on this trial:

See Consumer Information and Disclosure Public Notice CG Docket No. 09-158, CC Docket No. 98-170, WC Docket No. 04-36, Public Notice, DA 10-670 (rel. April 20, 2010), available at


The complete privacy statement and privacy policy can be found at the following links. and

This collection is authorized by OMB Control No. 3060-1139 and the complete PRA and Privacy Act Notice is available at

This entry was posted in FCC, Research by Ann Treacy. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ann Treacy

Librarian who follows rural broadband in MN and good uses of new technology (, hosts a radio show on MN music (, supports people experiencing homelessness in Minnesota ( and helps with social justice issues through Women’s March MN.

2 thoughts on “Comcast contacting customers about testing broadband (SamKnows)

  1. I have been an FCC test customer since the beginning of 2011. Got a new and better router out of the deal and so far I don’t see any issues with being a test subject. According to the FCC I am suppose to get a monthly overview of my service but have not seen it for January yet.
    I find about once or twice a week I take a look at my stats.

  2. I got this invitation since September, and after volunteering, I’ve gotten periodic notes from them stating the details I supplied “match the type of broadband connection we’re looking to measure”. But the next sentence caught my attention: “We need to ask you for more information to be certain, and to do this we’ve built a speed-test and accompanying form. . . . If you could run the speed test and complete the additional information, we’ll then be able to ensure that we get a representative sample of broadband connections.” As a researcher, the validity of this program is immediately suspect if they require a speed measurement prior to accepting you into a sample population for a study that measures speed. I’m not suggesting some nefarious plot, but the speed test prerequisite for this study makes it clear their selection criteria requires clear explanation before any summative findings can be accepted. That said, I’m all for a free router. . .

    For those who like more information, the speed test tries to run as soon as you click on the link in your e-mail. The certificate listed in the security warning about an application that wants to run on my machine is published by the “New America Foundation” (, managed by Go Daddy.

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