The Federal Communication Commission released its speed testing app today. It’s out for Android now, with versions for iOS and other platforms in the works. The app will help the regulatory agency crowdsource speed data for all US carriers. Grab it here!
When you install the app, it automatically checks your phone’s connection speed in the background when the device is not in use. You can see the performance of your data provider using the app. It allows the FCC to gather a wide amount of data on cellular carriers nationwide.
This all depends on the app’s adoption by consumers, of course. If it isn’t used by a wide sampling of Android users, than the speed data wouldn’t be very helpful. But if this catches on, the FCC will be compiling some very useful data. Data that will be very helpful for consumers trying to make a choice about which carrier to go with.
You can grab the app at the Google Play Store now. For more information, the FCC’s press release follows below:
NOVEMBER 14, 2013
FCC UNVEILS NEW, FREE SPEED TEST APP TO EMPOWER CONSUMERS WITH U.S. MOBILE
BROADBAND PERFORMANCE INFORMATION
APP EXPANDS LANDMARK MEASURING BROADBAND AMERICA PROGRAM TO MOBILE,
CROWDSOURCES DATA TO ASSESS MOBILE BROADBAND NETWORK PERFORMANCE
Today, the Federal Communications Commission released its first public version of the FCC Speed Test app for Android
smartphones. The app is available free of charge for smartphones running the Android operating system in the Google
Play store. FCC Speed Test is an open-source, crowdsourcing program to assess mobile broadband performance
nationwide. Developed in cooperation with broadband experts, major wireless service providers and other stakeholders,
the app will provide consumers with open, transparent information on their own mobile broadband speeds. In 2014, the
FCC will release interactive maps and other tools to allow consumers to see meaningful information about mobile
broadband network performance around the country based on aggregate data collected by the app.
The FCC Speed Test app accurately measures mobile broadband (cellular) and Wi-Fi network performance and
delivers consumers an in-depth, real-time view of key metrics related to their mobile broadband experience:
* Once installed, the app will run periodically in the background, and will automatically perform tests when users aren’t
using their smartphones. A manual option is available for on-demand mobile broadband testing.
* Graphs of past performance tests on key parameters (e.g. upload and download speed, latency, and packet loss) are
available on users’ smartphones.
* By default, the app will use no more than 100 megabytes (MB) of cellular data each month for automated testing.
Users may adjust the data limit from within the app.
* Aggregated, anonymous data will help the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America program provide accurate
information on mobile broadband performance in the United States necessary to enable consumers’ and the
Commission’s fact-based decision-making.
The FCC Speed Test app expands the Commission’s nationwide Measuring Broadband America program to
* The app is a first step towards evaluating mobile broadband network performance, arming consumers with
information to make fact-based, informed decisions about their wireless providers.
* In February, the FCC released the third report of its ongoing, nationwide performance study of residential fixed
* The report continued the FCC’s efforts to bring greater clarity to help consumers make informed purchasing decisions
and competition to the residential fixed broadband services market.
* The FCC’s three reports on U.S. fixed broadband are available here www.fcc.gov/measuring-broadband-america.
Privacy is paramount: the FCC Speed Test app was developed in collaboration with a diverse team of privacy
experts, including federal partners, academia, and industry stakeholders. To ensure consumer privacy protection:
* No personal or uniquely identifiable information is collected; data collection is a fully anonymous process;
* In order to protect consumers, data will be processed and analyzed statistically to ensure its anonymity before release.
The FCC is committed to an open, transparent measurement program that protects consumer privacy:
* The FCC’s open source software allows third parties to verify both the integrity of the software and how the
information collected is being used. Interested parties may use the FCC’s open source code and data to adapt the app
or tell the FCC how to improve it.
* Open source software encourages use of standard metrics for mobile measurements, reflecting the agency’s
commitment to transparency. The FCC Speed Test app code is available at https://github.com/FCC/mobile-mba-
* The FCC published the methodologies being used and the underlying data is available at
The FCC plans an aggressive schedule for providing visualizations and maps that will allow consumers to compare
mobile broadband network speeds and technologies, depending on the volume of volunteer participation:
* In early 2014, a map on the FCC website will allow consumers to compare speeds and technologies in their regions.
* Also in the first quarter of 2014, as more data is collected, a higher resolution map of the data will allow consumers to
zoom into areas of cities to see variations of speed, latency, and lost packets.
* In the second quarter of 2014, higher resolution data should allow the FCC to provide more localized results, and
comparisons by providers, networks, and mobile phone technologies.
* In the third quarter of 2014, focused info-graphics including such things as comparisons based on time of day, days of
the week, combinations of data, and even a weather map of traffic will be added.
The FCC encourages consumers to download this first release of the app, give the FCC feedback on how to make it
better, and volunteer to test mobile broadband performance:
* The FCC Speed Test app is available free of charge to consumers in the Google Play store.
* An iPhone app is under development, the FCC will submit the iPhone version by late January 2014.
* A consumer tip-sheet is available at http://www.fcc.gov/guides/mobile-speed-test-tip-sheet.
To learn more about the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America program and download the FCC Speed Test app,