FCC Speed Test

In-depth mobile data metrics to empower wireless consumers

The FCC has released its own open-source speed test app in the Play Store, giving any Android user access to mobile data speed information on their device. The main goal of the app, the FCC claims, is to empower wireless customers in the U.S. to know how well their smartphone's mobile network is performing. Just as you would expect, you can perform active data speed tests, which return download, upload, latency and packet loss information. You'll also get extra info such as signal strength, SIM operator code and network operator name.

Further, by default the FCC Speed Test app will also conduct passive tests and return anonymous speed test data to the agency for analysis. The app collects absolutely no personally identifiable information, is completely anonymous and has a privacy policy that discloses everything the app is capable of.

If you choose to allow it (the feature is enabled by default), the app will periodically wake your phone (also notifying you in the notification bar) and perform speed tests, reporting the data back to the FCC for aggregation. By default it will use a maximum of 100MB of data per month, although you have the control to limit that amount further or turn it off completely if you're data conscious.

Not only will this provide the FCC with great data so that it can further shape policies for U.S. wireless carriers, but it's also a great alternative for those wishing to do their own testing. Beginning in early 2014, the FCC plans to make this data available to the public so that they can view average data speeds on a map — and later with info-graphics — as well.

You can grab a download of the free FCC Speed Test app from the Play Store link above, if you're so inclined.

Source: FCC


Reader comments

FCC releases speed test app to perform both active and passive mobile data tests


Interesting but I think I may stick with the speed test app that everyone else uses Ookla

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All that data does is enrich Ookla. Why not help eveyone out by giving the FCC the ammunition they need to go after the bandwidth hording carriers?

This... Is exactly why I downloaded the app. Hope to see some good come from it.

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Aw heck, I figure the NSA already has all the info on me they want.... What's a little cell phone signal strength info gonna matter... LOL

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If you think that the NSA doesn't already have access to the information they want on you, pretty much on demand, you're crazy.

i don't need unlimited. i only use 1GB or less/month. but i want FAST AND UBIQUITOUS data - so i dumped Sprint and switched to Nexus 5 + AT&T GoPhone 2GB $60 no contract plan. and that combo is a BEAUTIFUL thing.

I did the same thing except I have the G2. Huge difference, loving me that gsm speed.

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I just did 3 tests on LTE at 25-30Mbps and it used up 137MB which is crazy. So glad I have 5GB of data with Rogers lol.

Btw how does the speed get conducted, is it just one file that it downloads to measure the speed at which it's downloading?

Go read what they collect. They tell you right up front.
Ya know, its not that hard to run Wireshark and see exactly what they are sending when your phone is connected to your wifi.

Yeah that or I will just not use it. Lol I have better things to use my data for. And I'm not too worried about pushing carriers to do better or whatever this does cause I'm happy with my att speeds and reliability on a daily basis.

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Yeah… That's called I'm a selfish pig: I have mine (crappy AT&T), so f*&k you all. Society is going down the drain thanks to egotistical people like you. Good luck!

Yeah sorry that I pay for what I get and I'm happy with it. I know that's not the norm these days with these carriers and their customers, but I'm happy with it. Don't know why I can't make a comment without a bunch of assholes getting their panties in a bunch.

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cause unless you are rich or uniformed, we pay too much for this stuff compared to other countries.

This looks like a great app, nice to see the FCC do SOMETHING right. Now if only they'd get on Verizon and the other providers cases about device portability (especially Verizon).

You are a real dumb dumb... FCC is fighting for the people against carrier regulations.

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FCC has to start somewhere right? Hence this app. It may not mean much now, but it will mean a ton later on.

With the whole NSA snafu going on, I'm a little reluctant to grant the FCC background access to my cell phone...not that that will immunize me from the whole issue, but the thought is uncomfortable.

You realize that the NSA (and government as a whole) can already access far more information about your phone and usage than this app can? And the FCC is fundamentally a consumer advocacy group...

Bottom line, if the NSA wants your data, the NSA gets your data. There's nothing you can do to stop it or make it more difficult for them, really.

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I was on WiFi and it ignored it and only tested my cellular data. Was wondering the same thing, but worked out good.

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I got a different result running it on Wi-Fi... It actually did use my Wi-Fi. And it says it was a Wi-Fi test. I also checked my data usage in the apps settings after I did the test over WiFi and it was still at zero since that was the first test I did.

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I did back to back speed test between speedtest and FCC and they are off by about 8 Mb, speedtest says 8mb down 3 up, FCC is saying 16 down and about 6 up. Yet my sensorly says the same thing as speedtest.

Mine didn't ignore wifi. It ran the tests on wifi.

It briefly blinked to cellular, probably just to identify the carrier/tower.

But the bulk of the time the test was run I could see it was on wifi. The numbers indicated wifi speed.
So I switched off wifi, ran the tests again, and the numbers all came up WAY slower. (Im Sitting in a weak signal area).

You can SCROLL the results page left and right to see successive tests.
My first test was properly classifed as wifi, (26.9Mbps down)
My second as Mobile (1.01 mbps down).

Well crud... After I checked again I see I was wrong, it did check WiFi and not data. I guess I was caught up looking at the cell info, and not where it did the data test from. Sorry about that.

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I wonder if the FCC will get false information based on this. IE plotting WiFi data as cellular, skewing the averages.

Certainly if the APP recognizes they are on WIFI, that will be reported to the FCC as WIFI and not Cellular, don't you think?

So it can help keep your ISP honest too.

Ill play along. This can hold the big 4 accountable I'm hoping.... Or I am just confused.

Sent from my Motorola side view pager 4-5683-968

This is a good thing IMO. A couple years back the FC reported that it would try to do a better job of holding carriers accountable for their coverage claims. Are you not getting 4g in a place your carrier maps say you should? This app may help the FCC determine if the carriers are lying to us about their coverage without spending piles of your tax money going around testing for themselves.

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Ha! No thanks. Call me cynical ;P but I'm not installing an app from the "Feds", especially one that runs automatically (I know it says you can turn that off, but is it really?). /adjusting tinfoil hat :D

Nine scariest words in the English language previously:

"I'm from the government and I'm here to help"

2013 update:

"This app is from the government and, trust us, it will help"

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Before you take on fear mongering , try to look up what exactly FCC is trying to do and who they are up against and why. I'm not saying that they always do the right thing but when it comes to these wireless and internet providers , they are saints fighting for your freedom to travel through the virtual space.

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You really want to make this political?
I'll say to you what I say to all the misguided Libertarians I meet. If you don't like government so much, you should try living someplace without one. Somalia and Afghanistan are lovely this time of year.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

1. It's the FCC, it's all political.

2. Only a government trained monkey thinks that statement is political. It's reality.

3. Don't ever call me a libertarian again.

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You resorted to name-calling, and you didn't even address his reply: you lose, lol. XD

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100MB of data on Sprint's 3G would really slow the phone down... It would probably take a month to run the test as well.

Considering I used to use 5-6gb of data on Sprint 3g.... Notsomuch.

Winter is coming. She's quite the screamer.

I do think the contractor's name is a little unfortunate for the app, given the current events going on. I fully agree with the FCC's goal here, but it's a little disconcerting to watch my phone sending a bunch of data and the notification shade say SamKnows uploading data...

I'd like to see an app or inexpensive SIM card that could test numerous carriers data speeds, thus allowing people to see which carrier we might prefer, using realistic results.
Yes, I know the carriers would have to be on board, but the app or card could have limited functionality.

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