Image from Flickr user Lars Ploughman.

In an effort to learn more about internet access for residents and businesses, Montgomery County has launched a web-based survey to collect information about quality, speed and costs.

Checkspeedmontgomery.com is a short survey individuals can take to test internet speed. The survey also collects and shares user-generated information about broadband service rates, quality, and customer satisfaction.

“The data gathered from this website will help the county better understand where residents and businesses access high-quality internet service and where service may need improvement,” according to a recent press release.

“Ensuring consistent, high-speed broadband connectivity is critical to an enhanced quality of life for residents; access to necessary tools for our students; and a strong infrastructure for businesses,” said County Executive Isaiah Leggett in the release. “Having residents share their internet speeds, helps the County identify areas where the community is not receiving advertised speeds and helps the County identify underserved parts of our community.”

The results will be shared with non-governmental entities providing telecommunications infrastructure, internet access service providers and the public, among others, to foster a collaborative approach to improving such services.

“It’s no secret that availability of high-speed networks has become as important as roads and other types of infrastructure,” said Council Vice President Hans Riemer (D-At-Large), who requested the project. “As we plan our future initiatives on wireless and wireline broadband infrastructure, it’s important to understand where we are strong and where our residents and business need improvements.”

Riemer has promoted improved broadband service in the county and is a member of a Federal Communications Commission advisory board on telecommunications issues.

The survey does not collect private information such a web browsing history, but does ask for a participant’s location to help identify areas of need. All the data will be publicly available.

Mike Diegel