What Information We Collect
The FCC Speed Test app (App) collects limited information that can be used (1) to measure your mobile (including WiFi-enabled) broadband connection performance; (2) to permit the coordination and adjudication of challenges that are submitted as part of the Federal Communications Commission’s Broadband Data Collection (BDC); and (3) to properly validate crowdsourced data that are submitted as part of the BDC. We collect personally identifiable information for these purposes only with your permission. Examples of personally identifiable information the App collects include your name, phone number, email address, location (including street address and/or geographic coordinates of the speed test), network information, timestamp, or identifiers associated with the speed test or your device.
More specifically, in addition to your contact information, we collect the following five broad categories of information when you use this App (for a complete listing of data fields, see Broadband Data Collection Data Specifications for Mobile Speed Test Data).
1. Location (only with your express permission)
- The App requires location permission to perform a speed test, and once it is enabled, the App will report your network name and your physical location when using the App (which includes the geographic coordinates of the location(s) measured during a speed test, and, if available, the horizontal accuracy and speed a vehicle is traveling if the test is taken in motion).
- When using the App, you will be prompted to select whether and how often the App may access location information. If you do not provide permission, the App will not perform a speed test.
- When you run a speed test, the App may collect information related to the cellular network environment in addition to your physical location when using the App.
- When possible, we will aggregate your location data with other users' location data to provide aggregated network performance and coverage statistics.
2. Time of Data Collection
- The App will report the date and time (and the time zone) when it performs measurements of your mobile broadband performance. Date and time are important metrics to capture because network loading, which affects performance, can vary across times of the day and/or days of the week. Date and time of the test are also important factors for the FCC to consider when determining whether inaccuracies in providers’ reported coverage are persistent. Time zone is an important metric to capture as it allows the comparison of measurements against known outages.
3. Device and Network Information
- The App reports your device type, manufacturer (brand), model, the operating system type and version installed on your device, and the timestamp that test measurement data were transmitted to the App developer’s servers, as well as the source Internet Protocol (IP) address and port of the device’s connection, as measured by the server. The App also collects certain Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and IP information that will be used to coordinate and adjudicate BDC challenges.
4. Mobile Wireless Network Performance and Characteristics
- The App will report, to the extent available based on the operating system used, information about your mobile device connection performance, such as your service provider, the strength and quality of the radio frequency signal, and the connection technology type and spectrum band used for the test.
5. Broadband Performance
- If you are not connected to WiFi, the App tests and reports your mobile broadband upload and download speeds, round trip latency, and packet loss measured between your device and the servers managed by the FCC’s contractor and other project partners.
- If you are connected to WiFi, the App will test and report the performance of your connection through your WiFi network, which performance will depend upon, but is not limited to, your WiFi configuration, your mobile device operating system and performance, the exact location of the mobile device (including the proximity of the device to the WiFi access point), the number of devices sharing your WiFi bandwidth, and the performance of your fixed internet service.
- If you conduct a test while connected to WiFi and cellular services are turned on, the App will report the performance of your connection through the WiFi network, but it will also record some information related to the cellular network environment.
How We Use and Share the Data
We share the data collected by the App in five ways to help consumers, the FCC, and others interested in understanding mobile broadband availability and performance in the United States. Note that the App does not use your data to support the delivery of first-party or third-party advertisements.
- We may share your information within the FCC to write various reports on mobile broadband performance and to support our development of broadband policy.
2. To Mobile Internet Service Providers Whose Coverage Is Being Challenged via the FCC Broadband Data Collection
- We will share certain identifying information with mobile broadband service providers in order to help resolve challenges and conflicting coverage information reflected in broadband service providers’ availability filings and the verified availability data submitted to the FCC by other Federal agencies, state, local, and Tribal governmental entities that are primarily responsible for mapping or tracking broadband service coverage, and other relevant third parties. Before a service provider receives access to any crowdsource or challenge data, it will be required, within the BDC platform, to acknowledge that it will use personally identifiable information that it receives for the sole purpose of responding to a challenge and that it will protect and keep private all such personally identifiable information.
3. To Third-Party Partners Who Help Us Run Our Test and Support Our Program
- Your data will be shared with our contractor who manages the measurement program, with partners who support the program and architecture, and with partners supporting our analysis or contributing peer reviews. We share data subject to agreements that include strict requirements to safeguard the data, not disclose the data, and use data only in furtherance of the goals of the program.
- The FCC has contracted with a broadband measurement company, SamKnows, to help manage the program and conduct its technical functions. SamKnows developed the FCC Speed Test App, performs functions such as writing and maintaining the software that performs the test measurements, responding to customer service requests, managing the App and the execution of tests, ensuring the integrity of and protecting the data, and providing analysis and support for the preparation of FCC reports. The terms of our contract with SamKnows include obligations to protect the data and your privacy.
- Research platforms and your carrier may support various aspects of the testing and architecture for the program. We may share your detailed mobile performance data with these partners supporting our data processing and analysis for the specific purpose of identifying patterns in the data and recommending ways of addressing any concerns for your privacy and anonymity. The FCC directs researchers, its contractor, and your carrier working under non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) to analyze the collected data for privacy risks or concerns and to plan for future measurement efforts.
4. Pursuant to Legitimate Requests by Law Enforcement or Where Otherwise Required by Law or Regulation
- We may share mobile broadband performance data collected by this App subject to legitimate, written requests by law enforcement or where otherwise required by law or regulation.
5. To You and the Public
- As a user, you can download your own speed test results data from the App and use or share those data as you see fit. Certain challenge and crowdsource information, including the precise locations of challenges in the BDC, will be depicted on the FCC’s website and used to verify and correct the FCC’s broadband availability maps. We will also publish de-identified data in summary statistics, coarsened data, and other minimally necessary datasets that support our review of the statistics, but only if we determine that the data poses very low risks to your privacy.
- BDC Challenge and Crowdsourced Data
Locations that are challenged through the mobile challenge process in the BDC will be made public via the Commission’s website, including the street address and/or geographic coordinates of the test, as relevant, as well as in aggregate form. Location information related to the crowdsourcing process will also be made public via the Commission’s website. Non-location information associated with the BDC’s challenge or crowdsourcing processes, such as names, phone numbers, email addresses, or mobile device information, will not be posted on the website or otherwise made publicly available.
- Summary Data
We will publish averages and other summary statistics that describe important features of mobile broadband performance. These summary statistics pose very low risks to your privacy.
- Coarsened Data
We will publish de-identified data in a coarsened form that supports the averages and other statistics that we publish in our reports. Prior to release of this data, the FCC will consider the likelihood that the data could be combined with other datasets to identify individual users of the App and make adjustments to minimize the risk of identification.
- Improved Broadband Mapping
The FCC will use de-identified data to reflect the general location, time, and results of the tests, which will help inform the public on the availability of mobile broadband and aid the FCC in its efforts to improve broadband mapping and access to broadband. Your test results may be aggregated with the results of other tests conducted nearby to minimize the risk of identification. The Commission’s aggregated mapping data or other visual depictions may be shared publicly via online maps, in reports, or in other formats.
- BDC Challenge and Crowdsourced Data
How We Protect Data
The FCC protects its information resources with a dynamic set of security measures. Some of these measures (e.g., network firewalls, physical security) protect the entire FCC enterprise, while other measures (e.g., user access restrictions, encryption) are applied to specific information systems. Following the risk-based policy established in the Federal Information Modernization Act (FISMA), the FCC applies more security measures (also known as security “controls”) to information systems that present higher operational risks. Consistent with this policy, the FCC applies specific security controls to systems that collect and process Privacy Act records and other identifying information. A comprehensive list of the security and privacy controls the FCC may apply to its information systems can be found in National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Special Publication (SP) No. 800-53, Revision 5. Finally, the BDC resides within the FCC instance of AWS, which is FedRAMP accredited, and any customer responsibility controls are addressed through NIST SP No. 800-53.
The electronic records, files, and data are stored within FCC or a vendor’s accreditation boundaries and maintained in a database housed in the FCC’s or vendor’s computer network databases. Access to the electronic files is restricted to authorized employees and contractors; and to IT staff, contractors, and vendors who maintain the IT networks and services. Other employees and contractors may be granted access solely on a need-to-know basis. The electronic files and records are protected by the FCC and third-party privacy safeguards, a comprehensive and dynamic set of IT safety and security protocols and features that are designed to meet all Federal privacy standards, including those required by the Federal Information Security Modernization Act of 2014 (FISMA), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
Our contractor, SamKnows, maintains appropriate administrative, technical, and physical safeguards to ensure the security and confidentiality of the personally identifiable information collected by the App against any hazards to their security or integrity. SamKnows conforms to the FCC’s privacy and security policies and terms and conditions. SamKnows maintains all test data containing personally identifiable information within the United States.
Other Terms and Conditions of Your Participation
1. Data Consumption
By default, the App is configured to use no more than 1 gigabyte (GB) of data each month for speed testing. At any time, you can change the amount of data the App uses by increasing or reducing the “monthly data usage” in the Settings menu; however, if a test sequence is initiated prior to the data cap, the App may exceed the limit in order to complete the sequence. You should ensure that your monthly broadband usage, including the data used by the App, does not exceed the data allowance included in your mobile broadband package. Your carrier may charge you for any data used in excess of your package’s data allowance.
2. Stopping Your Participation
If at any time you want to stop participating in this program, simply delete the App, and the App will not collect any additional data. Any data collected prior to the deletion of the App, including your contact information, may remain on your device so that it can be repopulated into the App if you reinstall it. Any prior collected data will also remain in the data sets subject to the above terms and protections.
- Detailed Testing Architecture and Technical Summary (https://www.fcc.gov/measuring-broadband-america/mobile/technical-summary.html).
- Program Stakeholders' Code of Conduct (https://www.fcc.gov/measuring-broadband-america/mobile/code-of-conduct.html).
- This PRA Collection Authorized By OMB Control No. 3060-1139 (Expires 01/31/2024). Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 Notice (https://www.fcc.gov/measuring-broadband-america/mobile/pra-privacy-act-notice.html).
- Mobile Provider Disclaimers (https://www.fcc.gov/measuring-broadband-america/mobile/mobile-provider-disclaimers.html).
- Mobile broadband providers endorse some applications certified for use on their network. This application may not have been formally certified by your provider or carry a formal endorsement from your mobile broadband network.