FCC Releases Free App for Testing Mobile Broadband Speed

The FCC released a free app for Android users that allows users to test their mobile broadband performance and speed. Early next year, the Commission will also release interactive maps that will allow consumers to get detailed information of network speeds from different mobile providers across the country. It’s the first tool that will give consumers the power to accurately assess which providers give the best coverage in their area.

According to a press release on the FCC’s site, the FCC Speed Test app is an “open-source, crowdsourcing program” developed in cooperation with broadband experts, major wireless service providers, and other stakeholders. The app, it says, “will provide consumers with open, transparent information on their own mobile broadband speeds.”

To deliver accurate speed test results, the app measures cellular and Wi-Fi network performance even while running in the background. Graphs including data on upload and download speeds will be available, and as the app collects aggregated, anonymous data over time, it will provide more accurate information to smartphone users.

“In the second quarter of 2014,” the FCC writes, “higher resolution data should allow the FCC to provide more localized results, and comparisons by providers, networks, and mobile phone technologies.” And by the third quarter of 2014, it will allow for comparisons based on time of day and day of the week.

Though the app is currently only available in the Google Play store for Android users, an iPhone version will be available in early 2014. The FCC is asking consumers to download the early version of the app to give feedback and test mobile broadband performance so it can begin collecting data immediately.

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