The FCC wants you to test your internet speeds with its new app

Image: Alex Castro / The Verge

The Federal Communications Commission has released a new speed test app to help measure internet speeds across the country, available on both Android and iOS.

The FCC Speed Test App works similarly to existing speed-testing apps like Ookla’s and Fast by Netflix, automatically collecting and displaying data once users press the “start testing” button. According to the FCC, the data collected through the app will inform the agency’s efforts to collect more accurate broadband speed information and aid its broadband deployment efforts.

The FCC’s Speed Test app allows users to test their speeds and share the data.

“To close the gap between digital haves and have nots, we are working to build a comprehensive, user-friendly dataset on broadband availability,” Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement Monday. “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 app is part of the agency’s broader efforts to collect more accurate broadband speed data across the country. The FCC’s current coverage maps are built from self-reported data from internet service providers like AT&T and Verizon. In doing so, the process has allowed ISPs to exaggerate their current coverage, drawing heated criticism from broadband access advocates.

Earlier this year, the FCC asked the public to fact-check ISP data by entering in their address in the current broadband maps and submitting a form here if the information described is incorrect.

Comments

I really hope they create an interactive map showing actual real world coverage from the various ISPs and mobile networks.

Something based on data, not guesses.

ISP: Guesses? What are you talking aboot, you don’t trust our data and map coverage?

For anybody who actually cares about outbound network security:

This application does not use standard web ports (80,443) for it’s tests.

By default, it looks to use:
TCP:
* 8789
* 6500
* 6003

Update:

TCP:

  • 8789
  • 6500
  • 6003
  • 6004

UDP:

  • 6004

Sorry for sounding dumb but….what does any of that mean?

Love how the FCC knows I’m on 4G, even though AT&T put’s a little 5G E up in the corner. How is that not illegal yet?

They were already warned/fined by the FCC and I think the settlement was that ATT couldn’t advertise 5G that uses LTE anymore, but they could continue to quietly brand it on their phones with the E indicator.

That’s such horseshit haha. There actually is some 5G coverage near me, but I almost never notice it since the only indication I’m in 5G range is the little E goes away. I’d notice it a lot more if it switched from 4G LTE to 5G.

Maybe I’m blind, but is there no where in this article where there is a link to the app itself (App Store or Play Store), or a link to the FCC’s app landing page? I mean, thanks Verge for telling me about this app except for how to actually download it. Guess I’ll Google it for myself and everyone else:
Google Play
App Store

(I’ve started to notice The Verge does this more often, where there’s no link to source material, only links to other Verge articles. It’s really annoying)

Thanks for posting the links. I was surprised they linked the pages for the info requested earlier this year, but nothing for the very thing they are now writing about.

Agreed this is super annoying, but becoming more common on sites reliant on advertising for revenue. If they link us out to another article, they can’t make any more money on us.

If every article had comments this would be less of a problem because awesome people in the community like @DormantBurrito could help everyone else out. But for some reason comments are only available on a small subset articles.

Who makes these decisions? Bankoff I presume.

Hah, I have read at least one article with "tell us what you think in the comments" with no comment section that I could find in the last six months. I’m not sure if it was Verge, but it certainly was a head scratcher.

And even when there is a comment section, I have to go to "desktop mode" to log in. I assume it’s just me though?

Heh – I missed the FCC fact-check thing earlier – interestingly it reports 9 ISPs available at my address, but only 1 (Comcast) can actually provide 25/3 service or better. So that’s how they keep their monopoly…well done.

I don’t see a link to the app (which seriously should be in any article about a released app), but if it’s this app (which matches the screenshot) the app has been around since 2014 and was last updated in December.

If the FCC wants to know where broadband is available, the FCC should request that information from the billing departments of the ISPs that received funding to provide service.

This is kinda BS, only releasing this on mobile – this won’t be an accurate test your broadband speed, it’ll test the wifi speed between your router and phone, which means it’ll be biased towards slower speeds. Also, a lot of people will be running this on their data network, which will have a different speed than their ISP.

I mean, I’m one of the "digital haves" – SpeedTest.net reports 927 megabits down, 22 megabits up. This app on my Wifi 5 network reports 352 down, 13 up, on LTE reports 18 down, 3 up.

If anyone is interested in a good alternate speed test that doesn’t get targeted by ISPs to artificially boost speeds on speedtests, try testmy.net

Are they testing must moble or all ISP. Only using a mobile app won’t give realistic pictures of ISP speeds. If I run the app on my phone it shows I get 400mbps over wifi. When I run a speed test from my desktop I get near gigabit speeds.

Where does this app collect information for home internet, ya know, the one connected to the router connected to your computer? This is great if the FCC wants to measure Verizon and T-Mobile. Terrible if they want to measure Centurylink or Comcast.

If you connect your phone to your home network via WiFi then it defaults to measuring that and not the cell network.

Sure, but then you’re testing your WiFi speed, not your ISP connection.
For most, connecting via ethernet will return quite a bit higher speeds and lower latency than their WiFi.

This is a pretty good idea but I would think Netflix would happily share their data

I think the new Boinc Project Ithena is doing something similar, it tests internet speeds to various sites from your pc at various times 24/7. [url]https://root.ithena.net/usr/about.php[/url] It does require you to install the Boinc software on your pc which may slow down any gaming etc you might do.

Why would we be willing to make the effort when the FCC has spent years proving to us that it really doesn’t care?

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