The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has set the target to provide high-speed Internet access to millions of Americans who have lacked such access previously. As part of its Connect America Fund (CAF) effort, it has been financially stimulating broadband carriers and service providers to provide a certain quality of Internet connection. In July 2018, the FCC issued a DA 18-710 document detailing the requirements that the recipients of CAF funds must comply with. In this post, we cover the basics of the FCC requirements.
What is the FCC Speed Test requirement?
FCC requires the CAF support recipients to perform testing of speed and latency to provide proof of the quality of service that they deliver to their subscribers.
Who is required to perform speed and latency testing?
The FCC requirements apply to all carriers and Internet and Wireless Internet service providers that receive CAF support, including:
- price cap carriers
- rate-of-return carriers
- rural broadband experiment (RBE) support recipients
- Alaska Plan carriers
- CAF Phase II auction winners
What are the FCC permitted testing options?
According to DA 18-710, three testing options are permitted:
- Use of Measure Broadband America (MBA) testing system
- Provider-developed self-testing system
- Off-the-shelf testing - using existing management and monitoring tools (such as TR-143 based solutions)
What is TR-143 based testing?
Technical Report 143 (TR-143) defines an Active Monitoring test suite which can be used by ISPs to monitor and diagnose their broadband connections.
TR-143 is a subsequent report of TR-069 that enables network performance testing of TR-069 compliant CPEs. The TR-143 was defined in 2008 by Broadband Forum, envisioning the need for performance testing scenarios like FCC's.
TR-143's Active Monitoring supports both Network Initiated Diagnostics and CPE Initiated Diagnostics for monitoring and characterization of service paths in either an ongoing or on-demand fashion. These generic tools provide a platform for the validation of QoS objectives and Service Level Agreements.
The key benefit of Active Monitoring is that it allows the network operator to characterize the performance of end to end paths or path segments depending on the scope of the probing. An example use case is to perform active tests between the subscriber CPE and a Network Test Server located at the Service Provider's Point of Presence (POP). This scenario gives the Service Provider the ability to measure the contribution of the Service Provider network (i.e., the portion of the end to end path under the provider's control) to the overall user experience.
How should the testing be performed?
The testing should be performed for one week during each quarter of the year between 6:00 pm to 12:00 am (peak times), including weekends.
- Latency testing: minimum of one test per minute—sixty tests per hour—for each testing hour.
- Speed testing: minimum of one test per testing hour in each direction (download and upload) at the beginning of each test hour.
When are the testing performance reports due?
The first performance measures data and certification should be submitted by July 1, 2020 and shall include data for the third and fourth quarters of 2019. From July 1, 2020 and on - data and certification will be due July 1 each year for all four quarters of the prior calendar year.
What kind of speed and latency considered compliant with the FCC requirements?
- Speed. 80% of the download and 80% of the upload measurements should be equal to, or higher than, the required download speed.
- Latency. A provider's certified test results, for each state and service tier, must show that 95% or more of all tests of network round trip latency are at or below 100 ms when measured between the customer premises and a remote server that is located at or reached by passing through an FCC-designated IXP.
Reporting the FCC speed test results
All test results must be submitted. Providers cannot delete, trim, edit or exclude any test measurements. If a provider knows or suspects that the testing infrastructure has failed or has negatively impacted test results, the provider may submit evidence of the test infrastructure failure with sufficiently detailed information for the Commission to understand its cause and determine the extent to which any test results should be discarded or adjusted when calculating compliance. Providers must still submit such test results.
About Friendly's FCC Speed & Latency Testing Tool
Friendly's FCC Speed & Latency Testing Tool is an industry-based framework that supports the entire range of testing and reporting needs, as detailed by FCC DA-710 requirements.
- Easy to deploy, requires minimal professional services
- Easy to use, for scheduling and generation of speed and latency reports
- Facilitates optimized testing conditions, including IXP selection
- Industry-based (TR-143) solution that is device and network agnostic
- Data collection and storage
- Data analytics and audit, via Friendly's QoE monitoring solution
- Secure and robust solution
- Flexible support
- Connect and test devices on Friendly's Testing Cloud before purchase
- Cost-efficient solution with flexible packages