ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
75°
Broken Clouds
H 87° L 68°
  • cloudy-day
    75°
    Current Conditions
    Broken Clouds. H 87° L 68°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    85°
    Afternoon
    Sct Thunderstorms. H 87° L 68°
  • partly-cloudy-tstorms-day
    81°
    Evening
    Thunderstorms. H 87° L 68°
LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb news on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb traffic on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

LISTEN
PAUSE
ERROR

Wsb weather on-demand

00:00 | 00:00

State & Regional Govt & Politics
Internet far slower in Georgia than reported
Close

Internet far slower in Georgia than reported

Internet far slower in Georgia than reported
Photo Credit: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Daniel Frizzell, the director of engineering at Blue Ridge Mountain EMC, explains the way in which Blue Ridge Mountain EMC provides internet services to rural areas. Blue Ridge Mountain EMC is based out of Young Harris. Jenna Eason / Jenna.Eason@coxinc.com

Internet far slower in Georgia than reported

No matter where you live in Georgia, internet speeds are almost certainly slower than the federal government says they are.

An analysis of Georgia speed test results by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution found that internet speeds were about one-fourth as fast as those reported by the Federal Communications Commission. Internet speeds averaged about 6.3 megabits per second in Georgia from June to December 2017, far below the FCC’s estimate of 25 megabits per second.

That means websites take longer to load, videos lag and customers aren’t getting the kind of high-speed internet they expect.

The AJC’s review of speed tests, gathered from publicly available information provided by Google and its partners, shows the extent of internet deficiencies long before Georgia’s government completes its effort to map online access at every location in the state. The state government mapping project, which is scheduled to be completed in about a year, will help determine where millions of dollars in potential tax money would be spent on expanding internet availability.

Downloads are especially slow in rural and some suburban areas, meaning there are likely hundreds of thousands more households lacking adequate internet than the 638,000 estimated by a University of Georgia report in 2017 that relied on federal data.

In Social Circle, a city of 4,500 people located about 45 miles east of Atlanta, residents said crawling internet delays their lives.

“I work from home, and it’s really slow. It takes a lot longer than it should,” said Sherry Sturgeon, a document specialist who uses the internet to research legal and property records. She said her internet provider told her husband it would cost $550 per month to run a business line to their home.

Charles Latt said his internet speeds are worse than advertised.

“It’s just slow, period,” Latt said as he dropped off mail at the Social Circle post office. “It isn’t high-speed internet like they say it is.”

Georgia’s speed test results are in line with those reported nationwide, according to data gathered by Measurement Lab, an internet research group that includes Google, Code for Science & Society, New America’s Open Technology Institute and Princeton University’s PlanetLab.

Across the country, speeds reported by Measurement Lab show that real-life internet speeds fall short. FCC numbers say speeds averaged 25 megabits per seconds; speeds reported by Measurement Lab came in at 6.6 megabits per second.

The disparity between reported speeds and reality is caused by the way the FCC collects information.

Twice a year, internet service providers, such as AT&T and Comcast, report to the FCC the fastest speeds they serve to census blocks across the country. The federal agency then considers an entire area to be “served” by high-speed internet — with 25 megabit per second downloads and 3 megabit per second uploads — if any one location in a census block area has access to those speeds.

FCC maps of internet coverage areas are used to help decide federal funding for broadband service.

“We don’t actually know who has internet access and who doesn’t,” said Chris Mitchell of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, a Minneapolis-based advocacy organization that focuses on banking, broadband, energy and waste conservation. “No one can really be sure because of this ambiguity in the census blocks. And if we fix that, we have a second major problem for policy, which is that we don’t know how much it costs” to expand internet service.

Georgia’s internet service mapping project will provide more details about where internet service is most needed, said Deana Perry, the state’s broadband director.

“Countless markets are routinely declared connected and competitive when they may not be,” Perry said. “The statewide map will be more granular.”

State legislators have said reliable internet service is essential to sustain businesses, students and hospitals in small towns that don’t have fast connections. The Georgia General Assembly could consider tax subsidies for internet companies to build high-speed lines.

The state’s mapping project will show where internet investment is most needed, providing a clearer picture than federal maps, said Stephen Loftin of the Georgia Cable Association.

“I think the FCC recognizes that they perhaps paint with too broad of a brush,” Loftin said. “To ensure those public dollars are going to the right places, that’s why we need these efforts both at the federal level and at the state level.”

The Georgia Cable Association’s members include Comcast, Charter Communications and Cox Communications, the cable and broadband internet subsidiary of Cox Enterprises, which also owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“It certainly can be misleading, especially if people are going to the map and looking to move to a new area and want to see what internet service providers are available,” said Eric Null, an attorney for the Open Technology Institute, a consumer advocacy organization that focuses on broadband access, net neutrality, cybersecurity and government surveillance.

Customers said they’re unconvinced that faster internet will arrive anytime soon, even if government funding arrives to help build it.

Charles Aston, a trucker who lives outside Social Circle, said his only option for home internet service is a 2 megabit-per-second line. That makes it harder for him to complete classwork for truck driver training courses.

“It slows everything down,” Aston said. “The only thing I could do is move.”

How we got the story

Using internet speed test data made available by Measurement Lab, Atlanta Journal-Constitution data specialist Nick Thieme calculated average internet speeds across Georgia. Measured speeds were gathered by Measurement Lab from 380,125 internet users who searched for their internet speeds using Google in the second half of 2017.

To get the average speed in a neighborhood in Atlanta, for example, an average speed was calculated for every IP address where the latitude and longitude of the IP address was inside the neighborhoood. IP addresses aren’t exactly unique users, but they’re a pretty good substitute.

Next, the IP averages were averaged together to find the total for the neighborhood. This prevented IP addresses that run many tests from biasing the neighborhood’s results. An analogous approach was used to calculate average speeds as reported by internet service providers to the Federal Communications Commission.

Read More

News

  • A Texas couple was killed moments after their marriage Friday when their car and a pickup truck collided on a highway outside the justice of the peace courtroom. >> Read more trending news  Harley Joe Morgan, 19, and Rhiannon Boudreaux Morgan, 20, both of Vidor, died in the 3 p.m. collision, KFDM reported. The newlyweds were pulling out of the private drive of Joy Dubose-Simonton, a justice of the peace, according to the Orange Police Department. The couple was heading to the Orange County Courthouse to file their marriage license, the Beaumont Enterprise reported. Police said Harley Morgan was driving a 2004 Chevrolet and a man was driving a 2015 Ford F-250 pickup truck towing a trailer carrying a tractor. KDFM reported. Police said Harley Morgan was exiting the private drive when the vehicles collided. The impact caused the car to flip multiple times before coming to rest in a ditch. the Enterprise reported. The mother and sister of the groom told KDFM they witnessed the crash. 'They had just gotten married,' Kennia Lashawna Morgan, the groom's mother. told the television station. 'They haven't even been married for five minutes.' Dubose-Simonton, who performed the wedding, attended their bodies as a coroner, KTVT reported.  The driver of the pickup truck was not injured, the television station reported. Police have not released the cause of the crash.
  • Seth Rollins and Becky Lynch have made their marks as professional wrestlers. Now, both believe they have formed a perfect match and are ready to grapple with married life. >> Read more trending news  The WWE stars announced their engagement Thursday, with Lynch, 32, announcing the news on Instagram.. “Happiest day of my life,” Lynch wrote in her post. Lynch and Rollins’ fellow WWE stars shared their congratulations in the comments section, along with Nikki Bella and her sister, Brie Bella, People reported. “Awww yay! Love this so much!” Nikki Bella wrote. “You deserve all the happiness in the world!!! Love you Becky!!!” “Yay!!!! Congrats!!! So happy for you both!!!” Brie Bella wrote. On Twitter, Rollins called himself the 'luckiest man alive' and posted a photo of Lynch showing off her engagement ring.
  • Lindsey Vonn and P.K. Subban are making the switch from Olympic rings to wedding rings. >> Read more trending news  Vonn, 34, a gold medalist in the 2010 Olympics and winner of 82 World Cup skiing events, made the announcement Friday on Instagram. She and Subban have been dating for at least a year, ESPN reported. 'He said YES!!' Vonn posted. 'Can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with this crazy/kind/handsome/hyper/giving man.' Subban, 30, won a gold medal as a member of Canada's men's hockey team at the 2014 Olympics, ESPN reported. He was traded from the Nashville Predators to the New Jersey Devils in June. The couple met two years ago at the Nickelodeon sports show that follows the ESPYs, Vogue reported. The pair made their relationship official in a red carpet at the CMT Music Awards in June 2018, People reported. “Right off the bat, I knew he was different,” Vonn told Vogue. “But I’d been married before, so I was pretty hesitant to let myself think that I could find someone that I would want to be married to again. After a few months of dating, I knew he was the one I wanted to be with, though. He makes me happy, and he’s so positive and energetic.” In addition to her marriage to skier Thomas Vonn, Lindsey Vonn dated golfer Tiger Woods for nearly three years until they split up in 2015, ESPN reported. 'Lindsey's the best thing that's ever happened to me,' Subban told Vogue. 'There are people in life that deserve to be with good people. They have that person who takes care of them and makes them smile, and she deserves to be with someone who loves her more than anything else in the world, and I do.' Vonn said the couple has not set a date for the wedding but will live in New Jersey, Vogue reported. We’re in such a busy time right now. We’re trying to move to New Jersey,” Vonn told the magazine. “I just want to enjoy the moment and the engagement. We’re not in a big hurry to get married. It kind of depends on his playing schedule, and when we have time to sit down and go through it. I don’t want to stress him out because he has a big season coming.”
  • A school resource officer is out of a job after she filmed a nude video of herself inside an elementary school bathroom during her shift. >> Read more trending news  Kissimmee Police told WFTV the woman removed her badge, uniform and gun when she went to the bathroom at Kissimmee Charter Academy to make the video for her husband in December. The video, which is heavily blurred, shows the woman asking the recipient what they thought of her video. The video was unearthed after the Osceola County Sheriff's Office investigated a personal incident with the school resource officer and her husband.  An investigation showed that while she was on lunch break, she was subject to recall at any point. Police said she was fired because if a shooting had occurred, she wouldn't have been able to respond.  The officer said that she locked the bathroom door and does not believe she should have been fired.  WFTV did not include the woman's name, as it was redacted in the report. 
  • A Nevada man overcame a weighty problem to become the first member of his family to enlist in the U.S. Army. >> Read more trending news  Seven months ago, Luis Enrique Pinto Jr., of Las Vegas, weighed 317, which meant he could not pass the Army's weight requirements, Army Times reported. The 18-year-old embarked on a program of exercise and diet and shed 113 pounds, allowing him to report to basic training, KNTV reported. Pinto now stands 6 feet, 1 inch and weighs 204 pounds, the television station reported. Pinto had been an offensive lineman in high school and had a steady diet of carbohydrates, but he changed his diet and dropped the pounds. 'I had struggled with weight my whole life. I’ve always been a big kid,' Pinto told KNTV. The biggest hurdle to losing weight was cardio training, Army officials said in a news release. Pinto began to combine jogging and sprinting to improve his times. 'Running wasn't my strong suit,' Pinto said in the news release. 'Carrying all that extra weight and trying to run definitely increased my time.' 'When no one was looking, I was doing push-ups in my room, eating right, knowing what to eat,' Pinto told KTNV. 'I feel like everyone has the power to know what they take into their body, so I just took that into consideration. I just did the right thing at the end of the day,' Pinto's work ethic impressed his friends, family and his Army recruiter, Staff Sgt. Philip Long. 'There were a couple times where he hit a plateau. He would lose a pound or two, maybe,' Long told KTNV. 'But to continue to push forward and put the effort and dedication in, it inspires me and it should inspire you.' Pinto will report to basic training in September, Army Times reported.
  • Six inmates were injured -- two seriously -- during a prison riot Friday night at a San Diego prison, officials said. >> Read more trending news  The disturbance began at the Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility shortly after 8 p.m., The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. Cal Fire San Diego spokesman Capt. Thomas Shoots said approximately 100 prisoners were in the prison yard when the riot broke out, the newspaper reported. It was not clear how many inmates were involved in the riot, the Union-Tribune reported. Officials with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said a fight involving several inmates on the recreation yard escalated into a riot, KNSD reported. According to KSWB, staff members ordered the inmates to stop fighting. When the fighting continued, 'officers used several rounds of less than lethal use of force to quell the disturbance.' Two of the inmates were seriously injured and airlifted to area hospitals, Shoots told the Union-Tribune. No prison staff members were injured, KNSD reported.