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FCC asks public to help map US Internet speeds using mobile app

It’s no secret that Internet speeds vary wildly across the US and that ‘high-speed’ Internet access in some places isn’t anywhere near actual high speeds. The FCC is working to collect ‘comprehensive data’ on broadband Internet availability across the United States and it needs the public’s help to collect this information. How can you participate? All it takes is a mobile app.

High-speed Internet is a necessity for a variety of reasons, many of which were brought to light in a big way during the pandemic. Determining where broadband Internet connectivity is lacking will help inform officials when it comes to initiatives supporting the rollout of high-speed Internet connectivity in rural and other underserved regions.

To help with this, the FCC is asking the public to download its ‘FCC Speed Test App,’ which is available on iOS and Android. With this, users can test their network performance and share the data with the FCC while maintaining their privacy, according to the agency.

The FCC’s Broadband Data Collection program will aid the government, including local and state officials, in determining where to allocate funds for expanding broadband Internet access. The maps provided under this program will be updated with fresh, accurate data that is necessary for such initiatives to effectively move forward.

In a statement, the FCC’s Acting Chairwoman Rosenworcel said:

To close the gap between digital haves and have nots, we are working to build a comprehensive, user-friendly dataset on broadband availability. 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.