Consumer protection: OfReg launches internet speed test

Utility regulator OfReg is providing consumers with a new system to test the speed of their internet connections and verify whether they are receiving the level of service they are paying for.

Internet services have been the topic of frequent consumer complaints, Public Accounts Committee chairman Ezzard Miller said during a hearing concerning the performance of OfReg in July.

The new independent speed test system launched by OfReg last week is meant to support and further enhance the internet infrastructure in Cayman, the regulator said in a press release.

OfReg noted that consumers can file a complaint, if the speed test indicates a service provider is not delivering the contracted service level.

Alee Fa’amoe, executive director ICT at OfReg, said, “Sometimes internet issues exist outside the control of the ISPs, but there is occasionally intentional slowing to regulate online traffic. This can have costly and frustrating consequences for the consumer, who receives a sub-standard internet service.”

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He said, “The new speed test will allow us to identify when these actions occur, which will help us protect consumers from [internet service providers] who are failing to deliver what customers and businesses are paying for.

“Having a complete view of our network, from the end-user perspective, puts the customer at the centre of our actions as we investigate issues and resolve measures in a proactive fashion.”

The OfReg Speed Test is a third-party tool, located at a data centre in Miami that facilitates 90% of the internet traffic for the Caribbean. Customers and internet service providers are able to use the website to ensure they are receiving or delivering the contracted bandwidth, latency and quality of service.

The tool provides users with metrics for upload and download speeds, as well as ping and jitter, meaning how fast data can be requested and received and the variation in response times.

Joey Ricard, of developers Klizo Solutions, who built the OfReg Speed Test system, said the COVID-19 pandemic and transition to remote working had shown how everyone requires good internet speeds to properly function and perform in their jobs.

“This speed test allows the end user to see the real speed of internet they are receiving, but the system also collates the results into a database, showing real time information about speed and consistency across multiple tests,” he said.

The tool also includes a traceroute feature that shows a map of how the data is flowing from various locations across the Cayman Islands to the Miami-based server.

Consumer complaints about internet service levels can be directed to the regulator using the email address [email protected].

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