What the Tech? Finding faster internet speeds

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(ABC 6 News) – Is your neighbor across the street getting faster internet speeds than you are? It’s very possible. They may even be paying less for faster speeds. You’ll never know unless you ask them or check for yourself.

Not that long ago, most people had just one or two companies providing internet to their street. In some areas now, they may have three or four, or six. Verizon and T-Mobile both offer wireless home internet through their 5G cell towers. Those speeds can vary from street to street or even house to house. The difference can mean the difference between the ability of video game streaming to being unable to watch a Netflix movie without getting the spinning circle on the screen from not enough bandwidth.

During the pandemic, The FCC began updating the nation’s broadband map and released valuable information on the website, “broadbandmap.fcc.gov.” It’s simple to use, just enter your home address.

The map shows, for that specific address, all of the internet providers available and their offered speeds. And it’s sometimes shocking to see the difference between one company and another.

At one random address I checked, Comcast offers 1200 megabytes per second download and 35 MBps upload speed. 3 houses down, AT&T offers 5-gigabyte fiber internet.

The other available companies are significantly lower.

The map also reveals speeds from mobile broadband that might show you will get faster speeds from AT&T, T-Mobile, or Verizon if you only switch.

It also shows whether 5G is available at the address. The FCC allows users to challenge its findings. If you’re not able to get the speeds it shows, just run the FCC’s Speed Test app and report your numbers to the FCC with a tap on the screen.

It’s all valuable information if your cell signal isn’t solid. It’s also a great tool if you’re looking to buy a house or open a business.

The FCC continues to update the maps by gathering information from providers, and from people who report the speeds they’re getting through the Speed Test app. It’s worth checking out.