FCC Updates Wireless Broadband Speed Test

The Federal Communications Commission has released an updated version of its FCC Speed Test app, characterizing the expanded capabilities to measure wireless capability as a demonstration of its “commitment to ensure consumers have the tools and resources to evaluate how well their mobile broadband connections are performing.”

The iOS version, available from the Apple App Store (opens in new tab), and the Android version, from Google Play, allow users to test their cellular and WiFi network performance. Like earlier versions, which have been available for at least six years, the new apps measure download and upload speeds, latency, jitter, and packet loss.

“This new and improved app is an important tool that will empower consumers to collect information about the services they are receiving,” said Monisha Ghosh, FCC chief technology officer. “These improvements will build on the success of this effort over the years and help the FCC bridge the digital divide.”

The app collects no personal or uniquely identifiable information, which the FCC said demonstrates its “commitment to maintaining user privacy.”

Ghosh said that the app has been updated to collect information about 5G networks to help “inform the agency in its work on next-generation wireless services.”

Related: FCC Opens Door On Broadband Speed Tests, License Status 

The FCC Speed Test app is integral to the mobile Measuring Broadband America (MAB) program, which is intended to assure that the commission fulfills requirements to survey broadband performance in residential markets. Data sets collected via the new mobile MAB tools will be plugged into the FCC’s periodic data usage reports. The program uses the FCC Speed Test app for Android and iPhone devices to test the performance of volunteers' smartphone mobile broadband services, also checking the wireless performance characteristics of the broadband connection and the kind of handsets and versions of operating systems tested.

Gary Arlen

Contributor Gary Arlen is known for his insights into the convergence of media, telecom, content and technology. Gary was founder/editor/publisher of Interactivity Report, TeleServices Report and other influential newsletters; he was the longtime “curmudgeon” columnist for Multichannel News as well as a regular contributor to AdMap, Washington Technology and Telecommunications Reports. He writes regularly about trends and media/marketing for the Consumer Technology Association's i3 magazine plus several blogs. Gary has taught media-focused courses on the adjunct faculties at George Mason University and American University and has guest-lectured at MIT, Harvard, UCLA, University of Southern California and Northwestern University and at countless media, marketing and technology industry events. As President of Arlen Communications LLC, he has provided analyses about the development of applications and services for entertainment, marketing and e-commerce.