MERIT Solutions Blog

The Federal Communications Commission is Evaluating Mobile Broadband

The Federal Communications Commission is Evaluating Mobile Broadband

Broadband Internet access is a critical consideration for today’s world, considering how much of daily life and business is now conducted online. Having said that, Internet access is still far from a given. In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission wants to work to fix this—but to do so, they need data. To help collect this data, the FCC wants you to install a speed test application on your smartphone.

The Importance of Broadband Access

Consider how prevalent the Internet is in everyday life right now: more and more is now handled online. This makes it challenging for many people in areas where broadband Internet connectivity is limited (or even nonexistent) to do very much at all—let alone shop, communicate, or as we tend to focus on, work remotely.

The past year or so has made the severity of this lack starkly apparent, with many people and businesses struggling under their current connectivity limitations. This is part of the reason that the FCC is reinvigorating an application that was originally launched back in 2013 and asking the public to install it on their mobile devices.

The FCC’s App

This application, fittingly called FCC Speed Test, will assist the FCC in evaluating which areas have the most prescient need of better Internet service quality, enabling them to more effectively fund the areas that need more help. Available on both Android and iOS, this app tests your mobile device’s upload and download speeds, as well as its latency, on either a Wi-Fi or cellular connection. By default, these tests take place once every 24 hours—although you can configure these tests to occur when it is most convenient, and how much data that can be consumed during these evaluations.

This app also allows you to test your connectivity speeds, plotting them out over time and by geographic location. In terms of privacy, the app collects a few different identifiers—location, IP address, operating system, device type, and ISP—but no personally identifiable details are recorded.

You’re also able to complain about your Internet speeds to the FCC directly, enabling them to collect even more actionable data.

Check out the FCC’s FAQ page about the application to learn more.

Hopefully, this resurgence in interest in accessible and equitable Internet access will prove fruitful, bringing the utility of the Internet’s full capabilities to more people and organizations. In the meantime, we’re here to help Hampton Roads companies do as much as they can with the IT that is available right now. To find out what your technology could be helping you accomplish, reach out to MERIT Solutions at (757) 420-5150.

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