(Phys.org) —Newly appointed head of the FCC, Tom Wheeler will be getting a briefing on what the agency calls the FCC Speed Test App for Android, this week—it's an app that once approved, developed and deployed will allow users of Android phones to monitor the upload and download speeds as well as latency times they are getting with their carrier. It would also provide a means for conveying results obtained to the FCC, where results nationwide can be analyzed to determine, Wheeler has said, whether Americans are getting what they pay for.
It was Wheeler's decision, of course, to have the briefing conducted. News of the briefing came about as the FCC published online the Commission Document that describes an open FCC meeting to be held November 14th.
Computer users have been able to test their broadband performance for quite some time using sites like SpeedTest.net—phone users on the other hand have not been so fortunate. The FCC did give its approval to an app a couple of years ago that tested speed for phone users, but the app was removed for unknown reasons not long after it was made available. Since that time, the FCC has made clear its intention to devise a means for discerning true speeds for smartphones. At this time, it appears that the FCC will be focusing exclusively on an app that runs only on Android—the most popular line of phones now sold in this country. If all goes well, it's likely other apps will be developed and deployed for iOS, Windows, and perhaps other phones as well.
Thus far, according to the Wall Street Journal, all four of the major carriers have agreed to cooperate with the app, and the presumption is that the app will function very much like SpeedTest for computers. Although in this instance, one major difference will be an ability to send results to the FCC so that they can be included in a national database.
The meeting will be the first of Wheeler's term, suggesting that the new chairman views giving consumers a means for testing the speed of their phone (and the government a means for checking the integrity of the carriers) as a high priority.
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