Suppose you went to the supermarket to buy a pound of steak for dinner and when you got home you noticed that the package seemed very light. So you went back and complained to the manager, only to be told that the label says "up to 1 pound", and you're stuck with it. You'd be furious, of course. But that seemingly ridiculous stratagem is used every day by broadband providers across the country. Don't believe me ? Check your agreement. In my case, AT&T tells me that I'm entitled to upload speeds of "up to" 3 Mbsp and download speeds of "up to" 384 kbps. What do I have ? Download speeds that average about 15 % slower depending on the time of day, and upload speeds that are more or less as promised. You can do the math, as well as I can. A big file, such as a backup or a photo album that takes 120 minutes to download at 3 Mbsp, takes an extra 17 minutes at 2.5 Mbsp, my actual download speed. Ok, so maybe that's not the biggest deal in the world, but why should I burn up an extra 17 minutes when I thought I was paying to avoid that ? And as I found out, I'm lucky. Many consumers get just 50% of the speed they thought they purchased. If we were talking about almost any other consumer service, you'd have the choice of taking your business else where. But not in Broadband.... "Ninety-six percent of the country has two of fewer choices for Broadband. The Cable Provider and the Phone Company" says Chris Riley, policy counsel for Free-press a non-partisan advocacy group. Not only do we lack a standard for acceptable Broadband Service, there's not even a standard definition of what constitutes Broadband. The FCC, as part of the National Broadband Plan, has just begun collecting data on connection speeds across the country via a test posted on its website. Sure, that's a good idea, but hello, this is 2010. Why don't we know this already ? Why as Eric London of the Open Internet Coalition points out, are ISPs allowed to claim that 90 kbsps is Broadband ? That 90 kbsps figure may sound like a relic of the analog modem days, but in fact, it's what you get on your iPhone when forced to connect to AT&T's sclerotic and nearly useless EDGE wireless network. Authorized by Congress, the Broadband Plan lays out numerous goals for this country's data infrastructure, most notably assuring 100 Mbps access for most of the country (USA), by 2020. To reach that goal, average download speeds in the United States will have to increase five fold.