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New FCC app tests rural broadband speeds

IARN — A new app from the Federal Communications Commission encourages members of the public to help test broadband speeds across the country.

According to Jean Kiddoo – Chair of the FCC Broadband Data Task Force – the agency has put together an app for mobile phones to help gauge broadband coverage strength across rural areas.

“We have an app that can be downloaded on consumer mobile devices, they are for iPhones or Android devices or tablets, to measure the speed that their broadband service is coming over,” said Kiddoo. “And the app measures two different kinds of mobile services; first, it measures cellular service, which is the service you use when you’re away from home, and we also have a function on it that enables the user to measure his or her Wi-Fi service at home.”

Kiddoo says that once the app is on a mobile device and open, simply push the button that says, “Test Mobile Device.”

“It takes 15-20 seconds to test both download and upload speeds, and latency and other measurements of broadband service,” said Kiddoo. “You do have to take a look to see if you’re at home and set to measure your Wi-Fi or you’re measuring your mobile broadband provided device like your telephone broadband service. There is that setting you can change. The information, first and foremost, is for their benefit to determine whether or not they’re getting the speeds that their provider has indicated that they’re paying for. Obviously, that’s an important question for users.”

Kiddoo adds the goal is to fill broadband gaps across rural America.

“There are many ways that we want to be sure that all Americans across the country, both rural and urban areas, have access to high-speed mobile broadband service,” said Kiddoo. “It’s become more and more important, especially during this pandemic, when users are at home, having to do homeschooling, working from home, operating their businesses from home, so broadband is more of a lifeline-type service at this point. And so, it’s important to us that we make sure that we get it deployed to areas that need it, and there are a number of both federal, state, and local funding processes that rely on good solid information, and we want to make sure that information is as accurate as we can get it for those funding efforts.”

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Story courtesy of the Iowa Agribusiness Radio Network


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