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Sam Crawford, a young software developer, observed that lots of people he spoke to had various gripes and complaints about the service they received from their Internet Service Provider. Some complained service was always slow, some complained service was intermittent, and some complained it only slowed down at peak hours.

Web-based speed testers seemed to give inconsistent results, and it was clear that these only scratched the surface of the issue.

He realised that the only way of properly measuring a user's Internet performance was to do it from the edge of their home network — i.e., at their router. Only here could you account for other traffic that may be interfering with measurements, and you wouldn't be subject to a poor in-home wireless network skewing your figures either.

Sensing what appeared to be a glaring information gap, Sam set about building his own router with his tests embedded. Eager to spread the word, Sam posted a research paper detailing his solution online and was inundated by requests from people interested in the project. One of these people was from Ofcom, the UK communications regulator.

Following a global competitive tender, SamKnows was selected by the Federal Communications Commission to build a community of volunteers to measure American broadband performance using the SamKnows measurement platform. This project is regarded as one of the most important aspects of the American broadband plan and continues to build on the positive results attained from the first three annual reports.

Today, SamKnows has expanded from a bedroom operation into a global company, and the original concept with the latest generation of those same tests has now been adopted as an industry standard by the American and UK regulators.

For more information about SamKnows, visit