Why Louisville Wants to Know Its Residents’ Broadband Speeds

Louisville, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

 

Connecting state and local government leaders

While courting Google Fiber and AT&T GigaPower, the city also wants to hold Internet service providers accountable for what they advertise.

The city of Louisville launched a new tool Thursday to help Kentucky's largest city to gain a better understanding of the quality versus cost of local broadband services.

Speed Up Louisville invites citizens to anonymously answer a few questions about their locations, internet speeds and bills—without collecting personal traffic data—to identify underserved areas.

A quick test calculates participants’ download speeds, stores them in a public database and then maps everyone’s results.

(PowerUp Labs)

Those speed results can be filtered by type of internet connection, ZIP code and service satisfaction.

Local internet service providers are also directly compared.

(PowerUp Labs)

The new tool came out of the civic hacking event Code Across in Louisville—a partnership between Louisville-based digital agency PowerUp Labs, the Metro Louisville government's Innovation Team and other local organizations. The project was inspired by a similar broadband speed testing website spearheaded by the city of Seattle, the New America's Open Technology Institute and Open Seattle

PowerUp Labs built the citizen engagement application to further community conversation about fiber:

The more residents share their internet speeds, the easier it will be for our community to attract competition into underserved parts of our community and the more obvious it will be when residents are not getting the advertised service levels. Our community is working hard to both attract the investment of private ultra high-speed internet providers like Google Fiber, AT&T GigaPower and others. Citizen participation like this can help accelerate the pace of competition and more importantly help us level the playing field across the metro-area.

Charter Communications is poised to take over the footprint of Time Warner Cable in Louisville, pending final Federal Communications Commission approval, and promised the city dramatically improved internet access and download times even for cheaper plans, The Courier-Journal reported on Thursday.

Meanwhile, Google Fiber is considering laying fiber infrastructure throughout the Louisville area for gigabit-speed Internet connectivity.

Dave Nyczepir is a News Editor at Government Executive’s Route Fifty.

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