What Information We Collect

The information the FCC Speed Test App ("App") collects is limited to information used to measure your mobile (including WiFi-enabled) broadband service. We do not collect personally identifiable information, such as name, phone number, location, or identifiers associated with your device, without your permission. We collect five kinds of information to measure the performance of your mobile broadband service.

1. Location (with your permission)

  • If enabled, the App will report your network name and your physical location when using the App.
    • When using the App, you will be prompted to select whether the App may access location information only when using the App, always, or never.
    • You do not need to grant access to location information to use the App, but you will be unable to view a map of your historical tests or have your results included in a map created by the FCC to study mobile broadband access if you do not.
    • Without the location data, the measurement results will be of limited usefulness to the FCC in its studies of mobile broadband service. When possible, we will aggregate your location data with other users' location information to provide aggregated network performance and coverage statistics.

2. Time of Data Collection

  • The App will report the date and time when it performs measurements of your 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. Time zone is an important metric to capture as it allows the comparison of measurements against known outages.

3. Device Type and Operating System Version

  • The App reports the manufacturer and model of the device you are using, as well as the version of the operating system installed on your device.

4. Mobile Wireless Network Performance and Characteristics

  • The App will report information about your mobile device connection performance, such as your service provider, the strength and quality of the radio signal, and the type of connection.

5. Broadband Performance

  • When not connected to WiFi, the App tests and reports your mobile broadband upload and download rates, 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. This data is stored on your device for you to review, and periodically is uploaded to our servers automatically. You can find more detail in the FCC’s technical summary of this program at  https://www.fcc.gov/measuring-broadband-america/mobile/technical-summary.html.

Data Sharing

The data the App reports is helpful for consumers, the FCC, and others interested in understanding broadband in the United States. We share broadband performance information collected through the App in four ways.

1. Internally

  • 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. Third-Party Partners Who Help Us Run Our Test and Support Our Program

  • We share your mobile broadband performance information 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 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 (NDA) to analyze the collected data for privacy risks or concerns and to plan for future measurement efforts.

3. Pursuant to legitimate requests by law enforcement or where otherwise required by law or regulation

  • We may share broadband performance data collected by this App subject to legitimate, written requests by law enforcement or where otherwise required by law or regulation.

4. De-Identified Data Available to the Public

We will publish de-identified data in summary statistics, coarsened data, the creation of maps, and other minimally necessary datasets that support our review of the statistics only if we determine that the data poses very low risks to your privacy. These include:

  • Summary Data

    We will publish averages and other summary statistics that describe important features of broadband performance. These summary statistics pose very low risks to your privacy.
     
  • Coarsened Data

    We will publish only 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.
     
  • Creation of Maps

    The FCC will use de-identified data to create maps that reflect the general location, time, and results of the tests to inform the public on the availability of broadband and the FCC in its efforts to improve broadband mapping and access to broadband. If possible, your test results will be aggregated with the results of other tests conducted nearby to minimize the risk of identification.

Data Consumption

By default, the App is configured to use no more than 100 megabytes (MB) of data each month for automated testing. Any additional tests you initiate will also consume between 100 kilobytes (kB) for the smallest packet loss test and 40MB for a complete suite of tests. At any time, you can change the amount of data the App uses by increasing or reducing the “monthly data cap” in the Settings menu. 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.

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 will remain in the data sets subject to the above terms and protections..

Other terms of use of the Application

Bureau/Office: 

Updated: 
Thursday, May 13, 2021