I have been a big fan of Ookla. In the past, I used their speed tests often and enjoyed the fact that smaller companies who offered much faster speeds would be rightly ranked ahead of the usual Comcast/Time Warner offerings that cost much more and gave customers less. It gave consumers the chance to see which companies were ACTUALLY offering high speeds in their area.
Not anymore. As StopTheCap noted several days ago, Ookla is now changing the way that their speed tests are put together. Instead of allowing smaller broadband providers and/or municipal broadband networks to participate in the rankings, Ookla is essentially eliminating them from the rankings all together.
For a given location – either nationwide or a given state or city – we aim to include only ISPs or mobile networks that provide service for a significant number of customers in that geographic area. So, while Google Fiber is the fastest broadband in states like Kansas or Missouri, they are not suitable to be included in the fastest ISPs nationwide because they only serve a very small portion of the United States. To be included in a given geographic area, an ISP or mobile network must meet a minimum threshold based on the number of unique devices testing each day over a six month period. – Ookla
That makes sense. When I am looking to purchase broadband speeds at my house, I don’t want to see that a company is offering 1 Gbps for $75 a month. Why? Because that providers only serves 1/5 of the city that I live in. Just give me the company offering 50 Mbps for $200 a month that serves much more of the city.
Essentially, we can now expect the same few providers to be ranked as the “fastest” provider in a number of cities where they aren’t even remotely the “fastest”.
For example, in Colorado and Texas, municipal broadband services such as NextLight offer consumers the fastest service in the state. But will they be included in the new Ookla rankings? Nah. Consumers in those area probably prefers being told about service that is more expensive and offers significantly slower speeds anyway.