COMMISSIONER JESSICA ROSENWORCEL
Presentation on Measuring Broadband America FCC Speed Test App
(November 14, 2013)
The wireless revolution shows no signs of slowing. Today, over 40 percent of all
data traffic flows over mobile devices. Within two years, the data used by mobile
devices will surpass that used by wired devices.
If you take away only one thing from statistics like these, it is that access to
mobile broadband is becoming an essential part of everything we do.
But as the uses of wireless broadband multiply in our lives, so do the questions.
Will my wireless connection work for high-definition streaming video? Is it sufficient
for teleconferencing? Will it support cutting-edge teaching tools? Is it reliable enough
for critical telemedicine functions?
The mobile application that the Commission is rolling out today will help provide
answers. We build on our past work measuring wired broadband performance by
creating the FCC Speed Test App. Consumers can download this application and run
tests that will measure wireless speed, latency, and packet loss. This will help shine a
light on actual speeds and help consumers answer questions about the capabilities of their
Going forward, I hope the Commission can build on this approach and come up
with other ways to provide consumers with the information they need to make good
choices in communications markets that are sometimes bewildering to navigate.
Our consumer complaint and inquiry process strikes me as one example. We
receive roughly 400,000 complaints and inquiries each year. This is a treasure trove of
information. But the data we collect is only published in snapshot form. I hope we can
consider making our data more open, using machine-readable formats and common
metadata tagging schemes. Then we can use this data to inform the Commission’s policy
activities. And we can turn to others to slice and dice these numbers and identify
meaningful trends that deserve our attention, our concern—or even our praise.
In short, there are a lot of other places in our work to harness the power of
technology, the power of transparency, and the collective wisdom of the public. But
today’s new FCC Speed Test App is a good development—and an exciting start.