12:39 PM

FCC To Measure Wireless Data Speeds

Agency aims to rate mobile broadband service performance across the U.S.

How fast is data access on your smartphone? The Federal Communications Commission wants to find out.

The agency announced plans Wednesday to measure the performance of wireless broadband services across the country. Under the program, called Measuring Mobile America, the FCC will work with major wireless carriers, research and public interest groups, and other parties to assess the performance of wireless services.

The program will be modeled after an existing initiative, Measuring Broadband America, that gauges residential broadband performance. In a report released in July, the FCC said consumers have used the data generated by that program for comparison shopping, leading to increased competition among service providers.

[ Learn more about the feds' mobile moves. See White House Releases Mobile App Source Code. ]

According to the FCC, the residential broadband survey has led to improvements in three areas: Internet service providers (ISPs) are making more accurate promises about network performance; ISPs are more consistent in delivering promised speeds; and consumers are subscribing to higher-speed tiers.

The new program is intended to gather data that can be used by consumers in choosing mobile devices, carriers, and service plans. "We know from experience [that] transparency on broadband speeds drives improvement in broadband speeds," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement. Genachowski added that the effort should lead to improvements in mobile networks and programs.

Both programs are an outgrowth of the FCC's National Broadband Plan, which addresses the condition of the nation's broadband infrastructure, availability of broadband service, and the role that broadband plays in industries such as healthcare, public safety, and education.

Later this month, the FCC will hold a meeting to discuss technical methods for testing the performance of mobile broadband service, methodologies to gather and analyze data remotely, and other study design considerations. AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon, and CTIA, a wireless industry association, plan to participate.

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
User Rank: Strategist
9/7/2012 | 1:49:23 PM
re: FCC To Measure Wireless Data Speeds
_Measuring Broadband America_. Hmmm.... I spend, I would guess, more time reading technical and trade press than 99.5% of Americans, and I don't recall ever hearing of it, and I'm absolutely sure I haven't heard of the supposed great strides that resulted from it. In fact, I continue to note with amusement that just about 100% of broadband advertisements include the phrase "speeds up to," which is essentially a guarantee that speeds will never exceed the rated speed but makes no claim that they will even approach it.

And now we'll spend more millions of dollars we don't have on _Measuring Mobile America_. More government busywork and self justification. And not much fact checking by the writer. Double fail...
InformationWeek Elite 100
InformationWeek Elite 100
Our data shows these innovators using digital technology in two key areas: providing better products and cutting costs. Almost half of them expect to introduce a new IT-led product this year, and 46% are using technology to make business processes more efficient.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
InformationWeek Elite 100 Digital Issue, April 2015
The 27th annual ranking of the leading US users of business technology
Twitter Feed
InformationWeek Radio
Archived InformationWeek Radio
Join us for a roundup of the top stories on for the week of April 19, 2015.
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.