After a couple fo months of slow internet access, I decided it's probably not all in my head and that I should look into it. AT&T customer service sent me to /speedtest, which came out within range: 0.41Mb/s. Found out with that occasion that even if my $30 pay for "up to" 1.5Mb/s, anything more than 0.384Mb/s is within the contract. Did you folks know that a 4:1 top/bottom speed ratio is within range? I didn't. Can't find that on the website either -- although I'm sure it's there if you know where to look.
Can't find any guaranteed average either. I understand they may have to drop the speed occasionally, but if it's consistently 0.4Mb/s, I feel cheated if told I'm getting 1.5Mb/s, even with the "up to" tacked nearby.
By the way, IT IS consistently 0.41Mb/s, ran the test at several times.
One more thing.
I found it curious that their speed test is so close to the minimum. Even if you TRY to save your bandwidth by doling out the minimum, can they really cut it that close? That flies in the face of needing a 4:1 range to begin with.
So I went to another website that tests internet speed, and I got 0.19Mb/s instead of AT&T's reported 0.41Mb/s, and below the minimum guaranteed of 0.384Mb/s.
I decided I need a 3rd test to break the impasse. No benchmarks this time: decided to measure myself. All you need is to pick a file of known size to download, and time it. The calculation is:
<file size in kilobytes> / <time in seconds> = <download speed in kilobytes/second>
No need to actually break out the chronometer: when it's done Windows tells you what was the download speed in kB/s for that file.
Multiply by 8 and divide by 1000 to convert the result in kilobytes per second, to the AT&T referenced unit of megabits per second.
I wouldn't settle for that (anything over .384 is ok) answer. When my download speed became intolerably slow it was determined that my (5 yr old - AT&T supplied) modem needed to be replaced. My speeds are now ~1.2 down and ~.2 up. Not great, but that is all I'm paying for.