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FCC's debuts iOS speed test app to map performance of U.S. broadband services

post #1 of 43
Thread Starter 
The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday released a broadband speed test tool for iOS that not only provides instant feedback on current network health, but also aggregates anonymized speed and location data to maintain a nationwide performance map.

FCC Speed Test


As part of its Measuring Broadband America initiative, the FCC rolled out its FCC Speed Test tool to create a map of nationwide broadband speeds. The app was first launched on Android last fall, reports re/code.

In the effort to map out the nation's network speeds, the FCC says no unique or persistent identifiers will be associated with collected data. Cell tower identifiers, GPS location data and other "passive" metrics will, however, be stored in the sandboxed app for user review. Along with the network health information, the anonymous data is intermittently uploaded to the FCC's servers for aggregation.

The iOS version operates in much the same manner as its Android counterpart in offering tests for download/upload speeds, network latency and packet loss. Historical speed data and real-time performance can also be accessed via the spartan user interface.

Most of the app's features can be found in established third-party software like Ookla's popular Speedtest.net Mobile Speed Test, but unlike the FCC's software, those options are usually ad-supported.

The FCC Speed Test app is a free 2.8MB download from the App Store. Users concerned over privacy issues can delete the app and its associated data at any time.
post #2 of 43

A useful feature would be speed test to content providers.  

"Building for the future?! They should be running around reacting to the present!" -John Moltz
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post #3 of 43
Um, might want to proof-read your articles before you post them. The hyperlink is messed up, and there is an extra space at the beginning.
post #4 of 43

How long before all ISPs prioritize all data to this app? :grumble:

Originally posted by Relic

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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #5 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

How long before all ISPs prioritize all data to this app? :grumble:

 

LOL

 

Sad but true. :)

post #6 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

Um, might want to proof-read your articles before you post them. The hyperlink is messed up, and there is an extra space at the beginning.

 

Correct: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/fcc-speed-test/id794322383

post #7 of 43

Not bad at all, but I would have preferred that they show you the real time download/upload speeds until waiting after that module is run to show it. 

post #8 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

How long before all ISPs prioritize all data to this app? :grumble:

thus, I said what I did in the first post.   This Netflix vs the Verizon/Comcast/ATT fiasco has got to be resolved better than this. What a bunch of crooks. 


Edited by snova - 2/25/14 at 6:05pm
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post #9 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

Um, might want to proof-read your articles before you post them. The hyperlink is messed up, and there is an extra space at the beginning.

that's weird. I was the first one to read and comment to this thread. Yet,  I had no major problems understanding it or  issue with the link. 

Either its just me or they are very quick to fix things.

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post #10 of 43
Hey, Apple patches the vulnerability, FCC releases an app. Hmmm....

But seriously, the app is pretty good.
post #11 of 43
You can't get it on iPhone 3GS it needs iOS 7 1frown.gif 😩
post #12 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tallest Skil View Post
 

How long before all ISPs prioritize all data to this app? :grumble:

In the end I don't think they will be able to get away with it. Eventually it will be all open. You pay for data and no one cares where it comes from. Cable TV's days are numbered. Unlimited data has to go away for it to be fair for everyone. You gotta pay to play, but we should all get the speed  we pay for no matter where the data comes from. If you are a big data user your bill should be higher but the speed should never be throttled.

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post #13 of 43

The FCC's screenshots in the App Store show "vodafone UK" as the carrier. That's kinda funny.

post #14 of 43
Originally Posted by mstone View Post
In the end I don't think they will be able to get away with it. Eventually it will be all open. You pay for data and no one cares where it comes from. Cable TV's days are numbered. Unlimited data has to go away for it to be fair for everyone. You gotta pay to play, but we should all get the speed  we pay for no matter where the data comes from. If you are a big data user your bill should be higher but the speed should never be throttled.

 

You’re far more optimistic than I am. The collusion will only spill over further and eventually we’ll all be both throttled and capped. 50 GB a month or less. “I mean… look at these smartphones! They get by on only 2GB per month. How could we have possibly been so stupid as to allow home Internet users UNLIMITED bandwidth! They don’t need that!”

Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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Originally posted by Relic

...those little naked weirdos are going to get me investigated.
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post #15 of 43
Umm...this app requires an agreement to having your data handed over to government agencies like law enforcement. Basically I don't trust the FCC nor do I trust the government to use my information against me. I do however trust Apple. But if you just agree and say it's ok then Apple can't control that. I say BEWARE! Paranoid? Perhaps.
post #16 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

Um, might want to proof-read your articles before you post them. The hyperlink is messed up, and there is an extra space at the beginning.

welcome to appleinsider.

get used to it.

to paraphrase ernestine: "we're appleinsider. we don't care. we don't have to."
"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

appleinsider's mike campbell, august 15, 2013
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"Personally, I would like nothing more than to thoroughly proof each and every word of my articles before posting. But I can't."

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post #17 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sporlo View Post

Um, might want to proof-read your articles before you post them. The hyperlink is messed up, and there is an extra space at the beginning.

And why is FCC possessive in the title?
"FCC's debuts..."
post #18 of 43
Silly NSA, nice try with this speed test app. 1biggrin.gif
post #19 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by weironfire View Post

Umm...this app requires an agreement to having your data handed over to government agencies like law enforcement. Basically I don't trust the FCC nor do I trust the government to use my information against me. I do however trust Apple. But if you just agree and say it's ok then Apple can't control that. I say BEWARE! Paranoid? Perhaps.

But what data? I assume it's just the data of your speed test so they can figure out the statistics I assume we all expect get recorded by these apps. It's not like the will be trolling your device or monitoring your whereabouts, which is apparently easy enough to do with a quick call to your carrier even without a warrant.

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post #20 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


But what data? I assume it's just the data of your speed test so they can figure out the statistics I assume we all expect get recorded by these apps. It's not like the will be trolling your device or monitoring your whereabouts, which is apparently easy enough to do with a quick call to your carrier even without a warrant.

 

The bigger question is why the FCC needs to be in the mobile apps biz at all.  Not sure the Federal government should be anywhere near web development, their other online efforts have been far from awesome.

 

Why do they really need customized apps to collect data that telcos are legally required to provide, and can be forcefully audited for?

Nobody is going to download this, but a tiny few weirdos, so its basically a useless cherry for some overpaid wonk to claim as resume item for bringing "mobile applications" to the FCC.

post #21 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by redefiler View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post


But what data? I assume it's just the data of your speed test so they can figure out the statistics I assume we all expect get recorded by these apps. It's not like the will be trolling your device or monitoring your whereabouts, which is apparently easy enough to do with a quick call to your carrier even without a warrant.

 

The bigger question is why the FCC needs to be in the mobile apps biz at all.  Not sure the Federal government should be anywhere near web development, their other online efforts have been far from awesome.

 

Why do they really need customized apps to collect data that telcos are legally required to provide, and can be forcefully audited for?

Nobody is going to download this, but a tiny few weirdos, so its basically a useless cherry for some overpaid wonk to claim as resume item for bringing "mobile applications" to the FCC.


I must be one of those "tiny few weirdos" that enjoys technology.

This app goes beyond telcos, including DSL and cable and fiber providers, and with my limited usage of the app so far? It is pretty nice. In fact, the setup has a place to put a monthly cap in the amount of data it uses. And suggests 100 MB. Then gives you a warning any time you run it after that cap is hit.
post #22 of 43
Yeah, no thanks. I'm not inviting the Feds onto my phone. There's a reason they targeted Android first, and I want no part of it. No foil hat needed, either. If anyone actually trusts Big Brother, I feel sorry for them.
post #23 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post


I must be one of those "tiny few weirdos" that enjoys technology.

This app goes beyond telcos, including DSL and cable and fiber providers, and with my limited usage of the app so far? It is pretty nice. In fact, the setup has a place to put a monthly cap in the amount of data it uses. And suggests 100 MB. Then gives you a warning any time you run it after that cap is hit.

I'd recommend zero k.  100MB of your mobile device's space to store analytics data for the government?  Also think you could stop by this weekend and mow their lawns too?  It also tells you when it's eaten up a bunch of space?  Wow, that is really not amazing in any way. :no:

 

As a tech nerd, I'd much rather download the long standing, reliable and free Speedtest.net app, than watch the FCC needlessly waste time developing redundant functionality by burning my tax dollars in front of my eyes.

 

It's like the Post Office spending money to code up their own branded email client, because a company that provides a free client has an ad to help pay for the app's development.

post #24 of 43
I doubt anything is going to come out of this. The FCC had an app back in 2010, partnered with Ookala. Nothing ever came out of the numerous complaints about slow 3G speeds or slow wifi speeds. This seems like a ruse from the cable lobbyist that sits in the chairman's seat. Even when the idea was announced under Genokowski, it was a laugh.
post #25 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by redefiler View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post


I must be one of those "tiny few weirdos" that enjoys technology.

This app goes beyond telcos, including DSL and cable and fiber providers, and with my limited usage of the app so far? It is pretty nice. In fact, the setup has a place to put a monthly cap in the amount of data it uses. And suggests 100 MB. Then gives you a warning any time you run it after that cap is hit.

I'd recommend zero k.  100MB of your mobile device's space to store analytics data for the government?  Also think you could stop by this weekend and mow their lawns too?  It also tells you when it's eaten up a bunch of space?  Wow, that is really not amazing in any way. :no:

 

As a tech nerd, I'd much rather download the long standing, reliable and free Speedtest.net app, than watch the FCC needlessly waste time developing redundant functionality by burning my tax dollars in front of my eyes.

 

It's like the Post Office spending money to code up their own branded email client, because a company that provides a free client has an ad to help pay for the app's development.


Not storage space, like flash does on macs. How much bandwidth it will take.

Look, I am not big on conspiracy, and iOS is sandboxed, and that is enough for me. I am sure that this app will be ripped apart far more completely be third parties/"hacktivists" than any other app.
post #26 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iphone 3gs View Post

You can't get it on iPhone 3GS it needs iOS 7 1frown.gif 😩

 

Time to upgrade so.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of the rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #27 of 43
Won't this only test the speed of your WiFi connection and not your actual broadband speed?
post #28 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cheesehead Dave View Post

Won't this only test the speed of your WiFi connection and not your actual broadband speed?

WiFi is typically much faster than the broadband connection it is attached to.

 

For example, 802.11n is about 300-450Mbps (depending on antenna configuration). Most people don't have broadband service providers that offer such speeds, at least here in the United States. The newer 802.11ac standard is twice as fast as 802.11n -- about 1Gbps.

 

For the average consumer, one's landline ISP will be the network bottleneck, not one's WiFi router. For example, Comcast's premium consumer broadband service tops out around 105Mbps.

 

Like other broadband speed measuring apps, the FCC app categorizes both mobile (cellular) and WiFi connections.

 

When connected to a mobile (cellular) network, these apps directly test the phone company's connection speed.


Edited by mpantone - 2/26/14 at 8:22am
post #29 of 43
One of the things the FCC should study is the level to which Americans trust their government to collect data about them on their smart devices. The FCC could determine how revelations about the NSA's activities are impeding technological progress. This could help the government understand how important it is to have limits on wholesale spying and oversight of the NSA.
post #30 of 43


They're crazy if they believe, I'm going to believe, they're just collecting speeds and iOS types!
post #31 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday released a broadband speed test tool for iOS that not only provides instant feedback on current network health, but also aggregates anonymized speed and location data to maintain a nationwide performance map.
 
...

As part of its Measuring Broadband America initiative, the FCC rolled out its FCC Speed Test tool to create a map of nationwide broadband speeds. The app was first launched on Android last fall, reports re/code.

In the effort to map out the nation's network speeds, the FCC says no unique or persistent identifiers will be associated with collected data. Cell tower identifiers, GPS location data and other "passive" metrics will, however, be stored in the sandboxed app for user review. Along with the network health information, the anonymous data is intermittently uploaded to the FCC's servers for aggregation.

...

... Users concerned over privacy issues can delete the app and its associated data at any time.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by GrangerFX View Post

One of the things the FCC should study is the level to which Americans trust their government to collect data about them on their smart devices. The FCC could determine how revelations about the NSA's activities are impeding technological progress. This could help the government understand how important it is to have limits on wholesale spying and oversight of the NSA.

 

My first thought was, why would someone install and app from the government on their phone? In the comments above....since when do we even start to believe a government agency.

post #32 of 43

Does this support the Retina iPad resolution?  Speedtest.net currently runs in screen doubled mode on Retina iPad.

post #33 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by Iphone 3gs View Post

You can't get it on iPhone 3GS it needs iOS 7 1frown.gif 😩


You're not missing anything, I expect it's mainly Gov  spyware.      Just use SpeedTest.net .

post #34 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by redefiler View Post
 

 

The bigger question is why the FCC needs to be in the mobile apps biz at all.  Not sure the Federal government should be anywhere near web development, their other online efforts have been far from awesome.

 

Why do they really need customized apps to collect data that telcos are legally required to provide, and can be forcefully audited for?

Nobody is going to download this, but a tiny few weirdos, so its basically a useless cherry for some overpaid wonk to claim as resume item for bringing "mobile applications" to the FCC.

Good point, the carriers speeds are none of their business.

Unless of course they are spying on your other mobile activities.

Google knows  this info from their android phone spying, that info should be adequate for the overstaffed spying Gov.

post #35 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by weironfire View Post



They're crazy if they believe, I'm going to believe, they're just collecting speeds and iOS types!
Quote:
Originally Posted by weironfire View Post



They're crazy if they believe, I'm going to believe, they're just collecting speeds and iOS types!

Isn't one of the chief complaints of iOS the lack of cross-app data sharing? Yet because the FCC name is on this, everyone is assuming they, somehow, got around Apples policies?

The Jerry Fletcher types amuse me. Is our government a bunch of criminal geniuses? Or a bunch of ignorant buffoons? The same people tend to, beyond all logic, believe both.
post #36 of 43
Originally posted by Starbird73
"Isn't one of the chief complaints of iOS the lack of cross-app data sharing? Yet because the FCC name is on this, everyone is assuming they, somehow, got around Apples policies?

The Jerry Fletcher types amuse me. Is our government a bunch of criminal geniuses? Or a bunch of ignorant buffoons? The same people tend to, beyond all logic, believe both."

I just don't like seeing loop holes for them. What is considered a "legitimate request" by law enforcement? Something I've learned in life was not to trust them. Trust them to use information I voluntary give them the right way...? There always is someone that wants to use what you do against you. Paranoid or cautious? I say cautious.
post #37 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by weironfire View Post

Originally posted by Starbird73
"Isn't one of the chief complaints of iOS the lack of cross-app data sharing? Yet because the FCC name is on this, everyone is assuming they, somehow, got around Apples policies?

The Jerry Fletcher types amuse me. Is our government a bunch of criminal geniuses? Or a bunch of ignorant buffoons? The same people tend to, beyond all logic, believe both."

I just don't like seeing loop holes for them. What is considered a "legitimate request" by law enforcement? Something I've learned in life was not to trust them. Trust them to use information I voluntary give them the right way...? There always is someone that wants to use what you do against you. Paranoid or cautious? I say cautious.
I give you all that. But what data are they really going to get? That I accessed a speed test on a given cell tower? That's all they get.
post #38 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by weironfire View Post

Originally posted by Starbird73
"Isn't one of the chief complaints of iOS the lack of cross-app data sharing? Yet because the FCC name is on this, everyone is assuming they, somehow, got around Apples policies?

The Jerry Fletcher types amuse me. Is our government a bunch of criminal geniuses? Or a bunch of ignorant buffoons? The same people tend to, beyond all logic, believe both."

I just don't like seeing loop holes for them. What is considered a "legitimate request" by law enforcement? Something I've learned in life was not to trust them. Trust them to use information I voluntary give them the right way...? There always is someone that wants to use what you do against you. Paranoid or cautious? I say cautious.
I give you all that. But what data are they really going to get? That I accessed a speed test on a given cell tower? That's all they get.

That might be what law enforcement needs to go after someone. They love to connect "the dots" against people they believe is committing a crime. Location approximation can be twisted. I just want transparency like Apple with the NSA. But I'll be the first to admit I don't know everything.
post #39 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by starbird73 View Post


Not storage space, like flash does on macs. How much bandwidth it will take.

Look, I am not big on conspiracy, and iOS is sandboxed, and that is enough for me. I am sure that this app will be ripped apart far more completely be third parties/"hacktivists" than any other app.

 

Ah so the FCC made a data alarm app?  That's even more pointless and unnessecary for a government agency, where 100% of it's budget is money taken by force from the people.

 

You don't need to imagine up any conspiracies for institutionalized bureaucratic waste and over-reach.  Save your ghosts, aliens and Illuminatit for your other affairs.

post #40 of 43
Quote:
Originally Posted by redefiler View Post
 

 

The bigger question is why the FCC needs to be in the mobile apps biz at all.  Not sure the Federal government should be anywhere near web development, their other online efforts have been far from awesome.

 

Why do they really need customized apps to collect data that telcos are legally required to provide, and can be forcefully audited for?

Nobody is going to download this, but a tiny few weirdos, so its basically a useless cherry for some overpaid wonk to claim as resume item for bringing "mobile applications" to the FCC.

 

Yeah.  It's not as if the entire Internet was created, essentially, by the government.

 

Oh, wait.

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