Does the Internet Feel Slow? Google’s M-Lab Wants to Help

By  |  Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 5:06 pm

googlelogoToday, Google is partnering with the New America Foundation (a non profit that is chaired by Google CEO Eric Schmidt) and a group of academics to develop an open platform for creating Internet connection measurement tools.

Google says the platform, called Measurement Lab (M-Lab), will help researchers create tools that help determine the root cause of sluggish Internet application performance. Over the course of the yea, Google will deploy 36 servers in 12 locations in the U.S. and Europe as a distributed backing infrastructure. A limited number of users will be supported initially.

Data aggregated by M-Lab will be freely available researchers, according to a blog post co-written by Vint Cerf, Google’s chief Internet evangelist, and Stephen Stuart, the project’s principal engineer. Google wishes for M-Lab to be a community-based effort, and invites anyone that wants to donate servers, tools, and other resources to participated, they noted.

“At Google, we care deeply about sustaining the Internet as an open platform for consumer choice and innovation. No matter your views on net neutrality and ISP network management practices, everyone can agree that Internet users deserve to be well-informed about what they’re getting when they sign up for broadband, and good data is the bedrock of sound policy. Transparency has always been crucial to the success of the Internet, and, by advancing network research in this area, M-Lab aims to help sustain a healthy, innovative Internet,” they wrote.

With companies such as Comcast (which prompted an FCC investigation) and Cox Communications prioritizing network traffic, this is good news for consumers and consumer advocacy groups. M-Labs could be a valuable research to help detect bandwidth throttling and let people confirm that they are truly getting what they are paying for.


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2 Comments For This Post

  1. justasking99 Says:

    Along with the recent interim appointment of Michael Copps as FCC chairman, this is really good news for Internet users. Remember, the commercial Internet was created by the Federal Government with the High Speed Computing and Communications Act of 1991. The commercial Internet was initially owned and operated by the Federal Government under the auspices of the National Science Foundation. In 1993 the NSF turned over the Internet to the telcos with the proviso that it be operated for the common good. If the telcos are reneging on this deal, then the time is right for the US Govt to take back control of the Internet and operate it as a public utility for the common good.

  2. David Worthington Says:

    @Justasking99: I agree. Some European countries have rolled out broadband faster than the US through private/public partnership where the government lays the fiber and companies have access. That prevents the duopolies that we have in most US cities and regions.