The Federal Communications Commission has a new speed test app, an official way to test out the speeds of your mobile and in-home broadband networks.
But there's a better reason to use it: All the results will go straight to the FCC, giving them the data they need to build equitable internet policies across the nation.
The app's available on Android and iOS. Try it out today, and you'll help the FCC build a better broadband network across the US — an increasingly essential service in our interconnected, remotely-working society.
What it does
The speed test app helps users measure internet speeds in the US. You can analyze your connectivity across five categories: Download, upload, latency, jitter, and packet loss.
The app also lets users average out their test results or compare past tests against recent ones, offering charts that make any spikes in download speed or dips in upload time obvious.
Plus, on the Android version, you'll be able to run auto-scheduled background tests, though this feature can be disabled as well.
The app has been out for a while, with some reviews in the Apple store dating back to 2014. But the FCC's push to raise awareness of how the data can be useful has been making headlines more recently.
The (anonymized) test data goes straight towards powering the Measuring Broadband America Program.
Previously, this program relied on data contributed by the “cooperation of 13 fixed broadband service providers,” according to the FCC. While that data is still available, this speed test app gives the FCC a path towards crowdfunding a clearer picture of US broadband availablity by using information straight from the source.
How it helps you
On an immediately practical level, it's useful to have a free, trustworthy way to tell if your desktop or mobile internet speeds are good or if they have changed.
Perhaps you're considering getting a VPN for increased security and need to know how it will impact your speed. Or maybe you need to confirm your have healthy enough internet speeds to handle a new VoIP phone system for your business.
The other reason is a little less immediate: You'll help provide a little more data that can go towards tracking cellular network performance across the US, and could turn into the foundation that future US internet policies are built on.