The FCC is encouraging the public to use its broadband speed test app, which not only provides users the data on their home and mobile broadband speeds, but sends the data to the FCC as well.
That came in a release Monday appropriately titled: "FCC ENCOURAGES PUBLIC TO USE ITS SPEED TEST APP TO MEASURE THEIR BROADBAND SPEEDS."
The FCC is trying to collect more accurate data on broadband availability so it can produce more accurate maps to help guide the billions of dollars it regularly hands out in broadband deployment subsidies and the billions more it will be handing out under COVID-19 aid packages.
It could also help guide the Biden Administration's apparent new focus on the definition of broadband availability, which includes not just where service is available, but whether it is fast enough and affordable enough.
Acting FCC chair Jessica Rosenworcel signaled that was part of the effort as well, saying the test will help the FCC determine where broadband is "truly" available. “To close the gap between digital haves and have nots, we are working to build a comprehensive, user-friendly dataset on broadband availability," she said. "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.”
The FCC app is available in the Google Play store and the Apple App Store. The FCC said it will protect the "privacy and confidentiality" of the data.
The app promotion came the same day the Biden White House was pushing its infrastructure bill by suggesting that broadband availability included speed, cost and competition, not just service reaching homes.
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Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.