The FCC is encouraging citizens to download and use its Speed Test app, which is part of the commission’s broadband data collection initiative. Currently, the app is used to collect speed test data in the Measuring Broadband America program, which enables measurement of mobile and home broadband networks without compromising privacy and confidentially.
Data from the app will be used to help consumer challenge provider-submitted maps when nascent Broadband Data Collection systems come online and, ultimately, help in the drive to create more accurate broadband maps.
“To close the gap between digital haves and have nots, we are working to build a comprehensive, user-friendly dataset on broadband availability,” Acting FCC Chairwoman Rosenworcel said in a press release. “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.”
Last month, the FCC said that it had created an online form on which people can share their broadband experiences. Consumers are asked several standard questions and then encouraged to provide three to five sentences detailing their broadband problems and suggested solutions.
Much of the issue focuses on the inadequacy of broadband maps, which are acknowledged to be problematic. An entire census block is considered to have service if only a single location actually does. Telecompetitor, writing about the online forms, illustrated the problem with the point that 3,200 census blocks in the U.S. are bigger than the District of Columbia—and each can be said to have service if only one locations indeed does.
In March, then President Trump signed the Broadband Data Act into law. At the time, then FCC Chairman Ajit Pail cautioned that the act, which aimed to confront the mapping issue couldn’t be implemented without funding. Funding was allocated in the COVID relief package passed into law last December.