FCC to release Android app to crowdsource mobile broadband data

FCC to release Android app to crowdsource mobile broadband data
Many smartphone users have played around with the Speedtest.net app that reveals how fast data is traveling to and from a particular phone over a specific network. Now, the FCC plans on launching a similar app for Android users. At this coming Thursday's first open FCC meeting under its new chairman, Tom Wheeler, this app will be introduced to the public.

The app, called FCC Speed Test, will be available in the Google Play Store and will measure network speed on all four major U.S. carriers. The FCC will use this crowdsourced data as a way of surveying the data speeds being provided by Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. The app is right in line with comments the FCC made in September about measuring data speed and Chairman Wheeler says that he wants to make sure that there is adequate competition in the wireless industry. Before the FCC can do this, they need to know what level of service Americans are currently receiving. And that is where the FCC Speed Test app comes into play.

source: WSJ

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5 Comments

1. FYoung

Posts: 42; Member since: Oct 08, 2013

This is a great idea.

5. Finalflash

Posts: 4062; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Yea, but I think this might be better on iOS than on Android. There is just too much hardware diversity on the Android side for this to be consistent I think. The iOS devices use a very specific set of hardware which should make for more accurate statistics to compare one provider to another. The vast diversity of hardware on the android side adds too much variability so comparing one Samsung device on T-mobile to a Sony one on the same network might reveal vastly different numbers much less comparing to another carrier between different devices. Unless they plan to collect device information as well, that might help alleviate the problem (although that just makes the FCC go NSA on us).

2. ohiojosh78

Posts: 32; Member since: Oct 17, 2011

There are already many apps that do this but it will be nice to have a very large scale version that will be guaranteed unbiased and have the clout to make sure the carriers aren't artificially inflating their numbers when they detect a speed test being ran. Well hopefully

4. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

The other apps don't feed their results to the FCC. FCC is looking for bandwidth information to probably set minimum speed metrics for the carriers. No one wants a LTE network with insufficient capacity, such that the LTE speed is only available at 3 am.

3. Droid_X_Doug

Posts: 5993; Member since: Dec 22, 2010

It would be a good idea to release an iOS version as well. Even though Android has the largest share of smartphone market share, the iOS share is nothing to sneeze at. More data provides for more informed decisions and what-not.

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