On September 21, 2012, the Federal Communications Commission held an open meeting to discuss a new program to measure mobile broadband service performance in the United States.
The National Broadband Plan (NBP), developed by the FCC, made recommendations to improve the availability of information for consumers about their broadband service. The FCC has undertaken a series of projects as part of its Consumer Empowerment Agenda to realize this charge, including launching a broadband speed test app and, most significantly, undertaking a comprehensive effort—in partnership with industry, the public research community, and other stakeholders—to provide the first detailed and accurate measurements of fixed broadband service performance in the United States. This past July, the FCC released its second Measuring Broadband America report, showing significant improvements in broadband performance and service offerings as compared to the first report roughly one year earlier.
The FCC now proposes a program to develop information on mobile broadband service performance in the United States utilizing the collaborative model underlying the success of its fixed broadband program. As the Measuring Broadband America program has proven, the broadband performance data produced by the statistically sound methodology of the program allows comparisons and analyses that are valuable to consumers and spur competition among service providers.
In addition, the experience gained within the Measuring Broadband America program has proven the value of working with a broad range of participants including industry and the public research community on the complex technical challenges related to broadband performance measurement and study. The FCC notes that in launching this effort we have already received commitments to cooperate by major wireless carriers and CTIA-The Wireless Association®. With the launch of this open meeting, the FCC looks forward to the participation of other critical stakeholders, including the public research community.
At this open meeting, Commission staff from the Office of Engineering and Technology and the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau discussed with interested parties the technical methods for performance testing of mobile broadband Internet service, methodological approaches to remotely acquiring and analyzing such data, and other methodological considerations for the testing of mobile broadband performance.