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FCC Encourages Public to Use Its Speed Test App

By April 14, 2021No Comments

WASHINGTON, April 12, 2021—As part of the Commission’s Broadband Data Collection effort to collect comprehensive data on broadband availability across the United States, the FCC is encouraging the public to download the FCC’s Speed Test app, which is currently used to collect speed test data as part of the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America program. The app provides a way for consumers to test the performance of their mobile and in-home broadband networks. In addition to showing network performance test results to the user, the app provides the test results to the FCC while protecting the privacy and confidentiality of program volunteers.“To close the gap between digital haves and have nots, we are working to build a comprehensive, user-friendly dataset on broadband availability. Expanding the base of consumers who use the FCC Speed Test app will enable us to provide improved coverage information to the public and add to the measurement tools we’re developing to show where broadband is truly available throughout the United States,” said Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel. The network coverage and performance information gathered from the Speed Test data will help to inform the FCC’s efforts to collect more accurate and granular broadband deployment data. The app will also be used in the future for consumers to challenge provider-submitted maps when the Broadband Data Collection systems become available. More information about the app is available on the FCC website. The FCC Speed Test App is available in the Google Play Store for Android devices, and in the Apple App Store for iOS devices.

FCC Speed Test App Tip Sheet

Description and Purpose

Q: Why does the FCC have a Speed Test App?

A: The app provides data for the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America Program’s mobileperformance measurement effort, aninitiative to gather crowdsourceddata on cellular networkperformanceacross the United States. The FCC mobile performance testing software, developedin cooperation withSamKnows Inc.,uses smartphonebased technology to collect broadband performance data, with the highest commitment to protecting participants’ privacy.The anonymizeddatais freely available (MBAMobile Data) to consumers, academics,policymakers, and any other interested parties.

Q: What is the FCC mobile app called and where can I get it?

A: It is called the FCC Speed Test app, and is available in the Google Play Store for Android devices, published by the developer “FCC APPs,” or in the Apple App Store for iOS devices, published by the developer Sam Knows. Search “FCC Speed Test” in either store.

Q: Aren’t there other speed tests already available?

A: There are other speed test apps. The FCC Speed Test mobile application helps the FCC fulfill a Congressional requirement to collect and provide the American public with free, open,and transparent information on mobile broadband performance across the United States. Other speed tests may not disclose their collection methods publicly,may impose fees for broad access to the data they collect, and may not reveal measurement details.

Q: Why should I download the app?

A: As a volunteer contributing to this effort, you get information about the broadband performance of networks that you use. Additionally, like any crowdsourced measurement effort, more volunteer participants will result in better quality data that is more statistically accurate and representative of the network performance that consumers experience.The aggregated and anonymized data will inform consumers and industry, and may lead to better mobile broadband performance for the nation. Through your efforts and those of other volunteers, the American public gets an accurate, unbiased, and open view of mobile broadband performance.

Q: Is the app free?

A: While the application itself is free, data transmitted by the app will count against any data usage limits for your service plan.To ensure that the amount of data used by the app is minimal, the app’s default setting limits its data usage to no more than 100 MB per month, which is a small fraction of many data plans. Users can change the data limit setting in the app.

Q: Why does the Android app include scheduled tests?

A: It helps to provide a more accurate view of typical network performance.Randomized tests distributed in an unbiased manner over various time periods and locales provide a more statistically valid approach to data collection. (You can disable scheduled background tests at your discretion or if they interfere with device performance.)*NOTE: Scheduled tests cannot be run on Apple devices due to iOS security features. As a result, the only option for such devices is manual ondemand testing.

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