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Stacey McCulloughDirector-CPEDPhone: 501-671-2078Email: email@example.com
by Stacey McCullough - September 24, 2021
Every few months I get an email or see a post on social media asking me to go to a
link and conduct a broadband speed test. The process is usually pretty simple - you
click a button and wait until the test is completed. After a few seconds, the results
of the test pop up on your screen. Depending on the application being used, you may
also be asked to enter the address where you’re conducting the test or answer other
questions about your internet service and usage.
As a professional working in the areas of community and economic development and public
policy education, I frequently respond to these requests by running the test on whatever
device I’m using and encouraging friends and colleagues to do the same.
After doing this recently, a colleague emailed me back and said, “Okay, I did it.
What does it mean and what happens next?”
Today’s post addresses those questions.
Broadband speed tests provide a real-time snapshot of your internet connection’s speed:
How fast can it talk to another device? How quickly can it exchange information?
The test starts by your device sending a signal to a test server (typically the closest
to you although some testing applications allow you to change servers) and receiving
a response. Your device then downloads as much data as possible from that server in
a specified period of time (usually a few seconds) to determine speed. A similar test
is then run uploading data from your device to the test server.
It’s important to note that an internet speed test only measures speed at the time
it is taken on the device being used, and it is based on transferring test data. A
variety of factors can impact internet speed, such as:
At a minimum, testing applications provide you with download and upload speed results.
Both are measured in megabits per second (Mbps or Mb/s).
Some broadband speed testing applications provide additional information such as latency
Checking your broadband speed can provide direct benefits to you and your family.
It can also support efforts to ensure that all Arkansans have access to fast and reliable
internet service, which is critical to economic and social well-being.
If your internet seems slow, a speed test is an easy way to check your internet performance.
Taking several tests using different devices throughout the day and week can give
you a better sense of your overall service.
If your download or upload speeds are consistently lower than what your internet service
is supposed to be providing or hindering your ability to do things, you may want to
contact your service provider to determine why. It could mean that there is a problem
with your service or hardware. However, it could also mean that the service you have
is insufficient for the number of internet-connected devices in your home and the
activities you are doing.
Having properly functioning equipment with service that best meets your needs will
ensure that you’re able to do all the things you want or need to do online in today’s
Because there is not a state or federal system in place that universally collects
data at the household or business level, participating in broadband speed tests on
applications that combine your results with those of others can also help researchers
and policy makers identify gaps and service issues that can inform policies and programs
to address those needs.
Broadband has become basic public infrastructure that is increasingly needed to access
education, health care and other services. It’s also needed for many other essential
activities such as applying for a job, paying bills, and selling or purchasing goods
and services. However, many Arkansans and Americans still lack this access.
To take a speed test using the State of Arkansas broadband speed test application,
Once you have your test results, a website link will appear for additional survey
that asks for your address, your satisfaction with your service, and how many devices
typically use your internet connection at the same time.