Measuring Broadband America (MBA)
The Measuring Broadband America (MBA) program is an ongoing nationwide performance study of broadband service in the United States that developed out of a recommendation by the National Broadband Plan to improve the availability of information for consumers about their broadband service. This program is built on principles of openness and transparency. The FCC has made available to stakeholders and the general public the open source software used on both its fixed and mobile applications, the data collected, and detailed information regarding the FCC's technical methodology for analyzing the collected data.
Measuring Fixed Broadband
Reports offer results of rigorous broadband performance testing for 13 of the largest wireline broadband providers that serve well over 80 percent of the U.S. consumer market. Tests conducted used automated, direct measurements of service delivered to the homes of thousands of volunteers across the United States. The Measuring Fixed Broadband studies began in 2011 with the release of annual reports based on data typically collected during a single month with few large-scale traffic events, such as major holidays, sports events or other elections. The data analyzed in the Reports thus reflect stable network conditions that provide the most accurate view of a provider’s performance under controlled conditions. The FCC works in collaboration with SamKnows, an international statistics and analytics firm supporting similar projects in other countries around the world. The Measuring Broadband America program incorporates the latest engineering best practices from these diverse stakeholders to collect and report the most accurate data for consumer broadband performance in the Unites States.
Measuring Mobile Broadband
The FCC Speed Test app uses smartphone-based technology to collect anonymized broadband performance data from volunteers participating in the collaborative, crowdsourcing initiative. Data is collected to help inform consumers, industry and policymakers with the goal of improving mobile broadband performance nationwide. Users can also use the app to test their own mobile broadband service on demand.
MBA-Assisted Research Studies (MARS)
- MBA-Assisted Research studies (MARS) are short-duration experiments initiated due to a research team’s interest in the MBA measurement infrastructure as a resource on which to advance specific projects.
- Candidate experiments feature technical topics pertinent to the Broadband Collaborative and the FCC.
- Examples of MARS activities include but are not limited to:
- Making available the MBA infrastructure and assistance from FCC technical staff for a targeted duration, to run tests distinct from those in use in the MBA program’s regular reporting schedule
- Collecting and providing (for a limited, pre-specified period) more detailed data than is available through the routinely run MBA tests.
- Before a MARS project can begin, the following steps are required:
- The research team develops a project proposal that describes the experiment they wish to run, and the associated intended use of the MBA infrastructure, for review with the FCC.
- The Researcher Code of Conduct developed for this purpose is shared with the research team for signing.
- A joint assessment as to the technical feasibility of supporting the project on the MBA infrastructure is made by the FCC, and the research team, as a preliminary gating function.
- The proposed research is presented to the Collaborative as an initial introduction to the project.
- Any new code involved is beta tested for stability, security and functionality.
- Deployment follows if the experiment is proven to run with no adverse impact to the networks underlying the MBA measurement infrastructure.
- Scheduling of research experiments occurs based on available MBA resources and existing program commitments. Once satisfactorily completed, a readout is provided to the Broadband Collaborative.
- Further detail on the process associated with MARS activity is contained in the associated Researcher Code of Conduct.
- Relevant data and other information, once available, will be linked to this site.
- The premises and conclusions of such studies are solely those of the research team, (ie not necessarily endorsed by the FCC). However, if conducted successfully, besides benefiting the researchers involved, projects in this category are likely to provide valuable insights to the FCC, as well as the MBA Collaborative, through an improved understanding of advanced technical issues in network measurements and architectures.
The Measuring Broadband America program is built on principles of openness and transparency. The FCC makes available to stakeholders and the general public the software source code used in its fixed and mobile applications, the data collected, and detailed information regarding the FCC's technical methodology for analyzing the collected data.
Recent News and Reports
- FCC Releases Eighth 'Measuring Broadband America Fixed Broadband' Report
- FCC Releases Seventh 'Measuring Broadband America Fixed Broadband' Report
- FCC Releases Sixth 'Measuring Broadband America Fixed Broadband' Report (2016)
- FCC Releases Fifth 'Measuring Broadband America' Report (2015)
- FCC Releases 2014 Measuring Broadband America Report
- FCC Releases 2013 Measuring Broadband America Report
- FCC Releases 2012 Measuring Broadband America Report
- FCC Releases 2011 Measuring Broadband America Report