FCC app lets consumers check how mobile broadband providers stack up

The app will help users measure the broadband speed they get, and provide aggregate data to FCC

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission has released a smartphone app that will allow users to measure the speed of their mobile broadband connection, while providing aggregate data to the agency for measuring nationwide mobile broadband network performance.

The FCC will in turn provide consumers, starting from early next year, with maps and other information on mobile broadband performance, which will help consumers compare the performance of their service providers.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler expects such information will boost service quality. A 2011 report on home broadband performance created an incentive for lower-ranked Internet service providers to boost network performance, he said in a statement. The FCC also expects the app to be an important tool for the agency as the feedback is expected to provide the "facts" the FCC needs for its decisions.

Released as open-source software on Thursday, the free FCC Speed Test App is available for Android smartphones, with a version for the iPhone also planned. It will test network performance for parameters such as upload and download speed, latency and packet loss.

The app is currently in its "public beta" version, and the agency will collect feedback from the public on how to improve it, apart from the FCC's own plan for improvements.

Once installed, the app will automatically run the mobile broadband tests in the background when the smartphone is not in use, with a manual option for on-demand testing also available.

The data collected through the app will be aggregated and anonymous, and will help the FCC's Measuring Broadband America program. The FCC said that it would not collect personal or uniquely identifiable information.

At his first meeting after taking charge as chairman, Wheeler also served an ultimatum to carriers, asking them to make it easier for subscribers to get their mobile phones unlocked for use on other networks after the end of their contracts, or face FCC regulation.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobiletelecommunicationU.S. Federal Communications Commission

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

John Ribeiro

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

Logitech Ultimate Ears Wonderboom Bluetooth Speaker

Learn more >

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?