By taking speed tests with the FCC Speed Test App, you can obtain information about the performance of your Wi-Fi or mobile wireless internet connection. Information submitted to the FCC by the App helps to verify the accuracy and reliability of the mobile broadband coverage data that providers report on the FCC’s National Broadband Map. Users who believe that the mobile coverage or speeds shown on the map are inaccurate can submit Challenge Speed Tests from the app. These tests will be combined with other speed tests to create disputed areas subject to challenge (referred to by the FCC as “cognizable” challenges). Mobile providers must demonstrate that the challenged areas are covered by submitting their own supplemental data., or remove the disputed areas from their coverage maps.
Q: What is new about the FCC Speed Test App?
A: Since its launch in 2013, the FCC Speed Test App has enabled users to obtain free, open, and transparent information about the performance of their wireless networks. The App now also allows consumers to dispute mobile coverage and speeds reported by providers to the FCC and published on the National Broadband Map. If users choose not to challenge their provider’s coverage, their mobile speed test results can be used more generally to help the FCC verify the mobile broadband coverage maps that providers file with the FCC. Users of the App can also continue to test the performance of a mobile or Wi-Fi connection without sharing any information with the FCC or their wireless provider.
Q: What tests will the new version of the App perform?
A: The FCC Speed Test App can perform tests in two different modes:
- Test Your Connection: A speed test can be performed from the App to measure the performance of a mobile or Wi-Fi connection. If a user agrees to share their contact information, speed tests performed over a mobile (3G, 4G or 5G) connection can be automatically submitted to the FCC, helping verify the accuracy of the mobile broadband coverage maps filed by providers. You can opt-out of data sharing at any time.
- Challenge Mobile Coverage: A Challenge Speed Test can be performed to contribute to challenges of a mobile provider’s 3G, 4G, or 5G coverage areas as shown on the FCC’s National Broadband Map. Challenge Speed Tests must be taken outdoors or in a moving vehicle, but may not be taken indoors.
Q: Where can I get the FCC’s Speed Test app?
The FCC Speed Test App is available in the Google Play App store for Android devices or in the Apple App Store for iOS devices. Search for "FCC Speed Test" in either store then look for the App with the FCC logo.
Q: Is the App free?
A: Yes, the App is free and contains no advertisements. However, the data used by the App to take speed tests will count toward any data usage limits/caps for your service plan. The App is limited to using 1 GB of cellular data per month by default. Users can change this monthly data limit in the App’s settings.
Using the App
Q: What kind of devices can I use to run this App?
A: The App is designed for use on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet, that runs either the Android or iOS operating system. Challenges and crowdsource data can only be submitted using devices with a built-in 3G, 4G or 5G mobile/cellular connection.
Q: How do I run the tests?
A: Open the App, then:
- Choose the Speed Test mode to test any wireless connection.
- Provide your contact info to opt-in to sharing your data with the FCC—or, skip this step to keep your test results anonymous.
- Run the test.
- View your speed test results. If you provided your contact information, the results will be automatically sent to the FCC and used to verify its mobile coverage maps.
- Choose the Challenge Speed Test mode to challenge your provider’s mobile coverage as shown on the National Broadband Map.
- Provide your contact information, which will be shared with the FCC and with the provider if a pattern of speed tests from the same area meets the FCC’s threshold for sending a challenge to the provider for response.
- Confirm and certify that you are taking the test under the described conditions.
- Indicate whether you are taking the test while outdoors and stationary, or in a moving vehicle. Challenge Speed Tests cannot be taken indoors.
- Run the test but be sure you are not using a Wi-Fi network. The App will ask you to turn off Wi-Fi before initiating the Challenge Speed Test..
- View your speed test results. The results will be submitted to the FCC automatically.
Q: What types of wireless connections can I test using the App?
A: The App will test the performance of either a mobile wireless (or cellular) or Wi-Fi internet connection, but a Challenge Speed Test may only be submitted for your mobile wireless connection.
To conduct a Speed Test or Challenge Speed Test of your mobile/cellular network, first make sure you are not connected to Wi-Fi. If your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, disable your Wi-Fi connection prior to starting the test. To complete a Challenge Speed Test, the device must be connected to the mobile cellular network only (the App will not allow users to submit challenges over Wi-Fi connections) and must be outdoors or in a vehicle. Once either type of speed test has completed, the results will show the carrier and technology next to “Connection Type.”
Q: How can I limit the data used by the App so that I don't exceed my data plan?
A: In the App, click the menu icon (three bars) in the upper left corner, then go to Settings, and select "Mobile Data Usage.” From there, choose your billing reset day and the monthly data limit that the App may use. If a speed test was initiated prior to the set data limit, the App may exceed the limit in order to complete the test instance.
Q: I want to disable or change the scheduled background tests run by the App. How do I do this?
A: To disable background tests on an Android device, go to the "Test Scheduler" under Settings and then toggle the "Allow periodic background test" switch to turn it off. You can also change the scheduled test settings from this page.
Keep in mind that taking scheduled background tests provides the FCC and the public with more accurate and comprehensive crowdsourced information about mobile broadband network coverage and performance across the United States.
Note: If you have an iOS device, there is no background test feature. Apple devices do not support background testing, and all tests must be run manually by the user.
Q: I have set up scheduled tests on my Android device. Why don't they run when scheduled?
A: The scheduler runs as close to the selected frequency as possible. Factors such as energy efficiency, other high-priority tasks, and rate limits may cause a test to not run as originally scheduled. In addition, the Android task scheduler may not run background tests if the device is in use or not on a charger.
The scheduled tests feature is not available on iOS devices.
Note that Challenge Speed Tests cannot be scheduled and must be conducted manually to ensure users certify the test conditions applicable to each test.
Q. How do I remove the App?
A. Users may uninstall the App at any time using their device's normal procedure to uninstall apps.
Results From Your Device
Q: How do I see a history of my speed test results?
A: Select "Test History" from the bottom navigation bar to see a list of test results, which are separated by Challenge Speed Test and Speed Test categories.
Q: How do I see the details of a specific test?
A: Within Test History, select Details to show the network performance results of any test listed. Users can also export detailed results of past speed tests (e.g., radio parameters, connection type, location) to an email address by selecting Data Export in the Settings menu.
Q: What types of wireless connections does the App test?
A: The App will test the performance of either a mobile/cellular wireless or Wi-Fi internet connection. Challenge Speed Tests must be taken using the mobile network connection.
To conduct a Speed Test or Challenge Speed Test of your mobile/cellular network, first make sure you are not connected to Wi-Fi. If your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, disable your Wi-Fi connection prior to starting the test. To complete a Challenge Speed Test, the device must be connected to only the mobile cellular network (the App will not allow users to submit challenges over Wi-Fi connections) and must be outdoors or in a vehicle.
To conduct a Speed Test or Challenge Speed Test of your mobile/cellular network, first make sure you are not connected to Wi-Fi. If your device is connected to a Wi-Fi network, disable your Wi-Fi connection prior to starting the test. To complete a Challenge Speed Test, the device must be connected to only the mobile cellular network and must be outdoors or in a vehicle. The App will not allow users to submit challenges over Wi-Fi connections.
Wi-Fi test results do not contribute to challenges or crowdsource data for verifying the data published on the FCC’s National Broadband Map.
Q: Why did my mobile challenge speed test “fail”?
A: If a Challenge Speed Test taken on your device does not meet or exceed the speeds listed below for each type of mobile network technology, or the device has no network connection when the test is attempted, then the test will be counted as a “failed” test in the mobile challenge process.
- 3G: 200 kilobits per second (kbps) download and 50 kbps upload (i.e., 0.2/0.05 Mbps),
- 4G LTE: 5 megabits per second (Mbps) download and 1 Mbps upload (i.e., 5/1 Mbps),
- 5G-NR (set 1): 7 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload (i.e., 7/1 Mbps), and
- 5G-NR (set 2): 35 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload (i.e., 35/3 Mbps).
Tests that pass and fail these speed thresholds are aggregated and analyzed each month to determine whether a challenge to a provider’s coverage will be created for a particular geographic area. Mobile providers must either rebut these challenges with their own speed test or network quality data, or have the areas removed from their coverage maps. For more information on how the mobile challenge process works, visit: https://help.bdc.fcc.gov/hc/en-us/articles/8779977939227-Mobile-Availability-Challenge-Resources.
Q: How does the App know what technology or connection type the test is run over?
A: The App determines the type of connection your device is using at several points during a test. First, the App checks whether the connection is mobile/cellular or Wi-Fi. If the connection is mobile/cellular, the App will also specify the type of network (3G, 4G, or 5G). Some connections display as 5G on the device (such as at the top of the screen), but the data may be carried over a 4G connection. In these cases, the App may record the test as being carried out over the 4G network, rather than 5G.
Q: How do I submit my results to the FCC, or raise a concern about not getting the connectivity I should be receiving?
The FCC will use Speed Test results to verify the accuracy and reliability of the mobile broadband coverage data that providers must submit to the FCC and are published on the National Broadband Map. Challenge Speed Tests will be automatically analyzed and aggregated each month to determine whether a pattern of speed tests from the same area meets the FCC’s threshold for sending a challenge to the provider response. If such a challenge is created, then the speed test results will be shared with the challenged provider, and the provider will be required to respond by either rebutting or conceding the challenge. If the provider concedes the challenge or cannot successfully rebut it, the coverage information on the map will be adjusted. For more information on how the mobile challenge process works, visit: https://help.bdc.fcc.gov/hc/en-us/articles/8779977939227-Mobile-Availability-Challenge-Resources.
If you wish to raise a specific concern or complaint regarding your mobile broadband service, you can either contact your carrier directly or file a complaint in the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center.
Q: Do I need to export my test result data and email the exported results to the FCC?
Q: Why don't my Wi-Fi results match the speed tier I’m paying my provider for?
A: If you are using the App to test your Wi-Fi internet connection, your test results may not be as fast as the speeds your home (or fixed) broadband provider advertises or delivers to your location. Many factors can impact Wi-Fi speed test results, such as the number of other devices using the router and the fixed connection when you run your test or how far away your device is from your router.
The FCC tests and collects the results of fixed internet connections at the homes of volunteers through its Measuring Broadband America (MBA) Whitebox fixed-line program. For more information on that program visit measuringbroadbandamerica.com/test-methodology or to volunteer visit measuringbroadbandamerica.com/volunteer-now.
If you are concerned that your fixed broadband internet speeds do not match the speed tier you are paying for, you should either contact your carrier directly or file a complaint in the FCC’s Consumer Complaint Center: consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.
Q: Why do I sometimes see different test results if I use other speed test apps?
A: Different speed test apps use different test methodologies, so some variation in results should be expected. Many factors can impact the results, including where the App company’s test servers are located (including whether they are inside or outside the ISP's network) and how the measurements are conducted.
The test methodology for the FCC Speed Test App is outlined in more detail at fcc.gov/general/measuring-mobile-broadband-methodology-technical-summary.
Q: How can I submit a Challenge Speed Test if I don’t have mobile coverage?
A: The FCC Speed Test app is designed to record and store Challenge Speed Test results conducted in areas without cellular internet connectivity and then to automatically transmit failed tests the next time the app is opened, and the device has a broadband connection. The Test ID will be assigned when the results are transmitted to the FCC.
Q: What information do you collect?
A: The App always reports the following information to the FCC and its speed test App contractor:
- the geographic coordinates where the test was taken;
- the date and time of the test;
- the manufacturer and model of the device used to take the test,
- including the version of the operating system installed on the device;
- information about your device’s mobile connection, such as your service provider, the strength and quality of the radio signal, and the type of connection;
- and the results of the tests.
If you agree to share your contact information with the FCC, either when you first open the App or by opting-in later, then the name and email address you enter in the App will also be shared with the FCC when you run a mobile/cellular Speed Test (this is considered mobile crowdsourced data).
For Challenge Tests, your name, email address, and the phone number associated with the mobile service, as well as the information listed above, will be collected and shared with the FCC.
If a challenge is created based on your Challenge Speed Test(s), this information will also be shared with the challenged provider. The provider must agree to use any personally identifiable information (PII) that it receives solely for the purposes of the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection challenge process, and that it will protect and keep private all such PII.
All test results are automatically transmitted to the FCC’s contractor and then to the FCC.
Q: What personal data is collected?
A: The FCC is committed to protecting participants' privacy and has taken significant measures to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of App users. The App asks users to provide certain personally identifiable information -- including a name, phone number, location, or identifiers associated with your device -- in order to certify to test conditions, to enable follow-up communication with users, and to ensure that each user can be identified as a subscriber of the provider being challenged.
Q: Why does the FCC require my email address for Challenge Speed Tests?
A: An email address allows the FCC to send you updates on how your speed test results have been processed, including whether your results contributed to a challenge of a provider’s coverage map and the status of the challenge.
Q. How is the data used/shared?
A: The FCC uses submissions of challenges to mobile coverage data and crowdsourced data to verify and improve the accuracy of the mobile coverage data shown on the FCC’s National Broadband Map. We may also use the data collected by the App to help inform policy decisions regarding mobile broadband services. The data is also shared with the FCC’s mobile speed test App contractor, SamKnows, subject to confidentiality restrictions. In the event that law enforcement makes a legitimate, written request for access to the data, or we are otherwise required to provide access by law, we will do so.
Data is also shared with providers when the FCC sends a challenge to them that requires a response. The provider must agree to use any PII it receives solely for the purposes of the FCC’s Broadband Data Collection challenge process (and to keep all such PII private).
Q: I'm having difficulty, how can I get technical support?
A: For technical support with the App, please use the “Contact Us” page on the App’s “Settings” menu or go to measuringbroadbandamerica.com/contact.
Q: How can I share feedback about the App?
A: Your feedback is welcome and encouraged. Please send your feedback via the “Contact Us” page on the App’s “Settings” menu.
More About the App
Q: Why does the FCC have a speed test application?
A: In 2020, Congress adopted the Broadband Deployment Accuracy and Technological Availability Act (Broadband DATA Act), which directed the FCC to “establish a user-friendly challenge process through which consumers, state, local, and Tribal governmental entities, and other entities or individuals may submit coverage data to the Commission” in order to challenge the coverage maps created in accordance with the Broadband DATA Act or the underlying broadband availability data forming the basis of the coverage maps.
The Speed Test App implements the requirement to create a user-friendly challenge process that measures and submits mobile coverage data to the FCC.
The FCC also uses mobile data collected by the Speed Test App in its Measuring Broadband America program to support the Communications Marketplace Report. This fulfills the requirement set forth in RAY BAUM’S Act of 2018, which called for a comprehensive evaluation of the state of competition in the U.S. communications marketplace. It also supports the annual Measuring Broadband America Report to improve the availability of information for consumers about their broadband service.
Q: Who develops the speed test application for the FCC?
A: The FCC Speed Test App has been developed in cooperation with SamKnows Ltd. to support both the FCC’s National Broadband Map and its Measuring Broadband America (MBA) programs.