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FCC Releases App to Test WiFi Speed

Everyone with an ounce of app development experience has come up with something for either the iPhone or the Android, and even the FCC is getting in on the fun.  The purpose of the app, according to their website, is to “provide Americans with additional information about their mobile data connection and create awareness about the mobile broadband connection quality.  While some people might understandably be concerned with an app designed by the Feds installed on their phone, all the app really does is monitor data upload and download speeds.  The FCC is set to release a new national broadband plan on 3/16, which will stress the need for improved cell phone data networks.

The data collected through this app will analyze geographical coverage and quality throughout the United States, essentially providing them an auditing tool for cell phone carrier claims and commercial coverage maps.  It will also, quite simply, allow the user to see what kind of data speed they are getting from their cell phone carrier in specific locations.  You can also find out the speed of your broadband connection by either turning on your cell phone WiFi, or checking out Broadband.gov.  This information generally isn’t as valuable for you as the end user, as you can’t move a fixed connection for better coverage as you can with a cell phone.

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Tests were recently conducted by the FCC in Seattle and Los Angeles, using a number of phones and carriers, and the results were a little surprising.  Verizon’s Droid in Seattle blew away all other results, registering 3G speeds of 1.71 MBPS downloads and .82 MBPS uploads.  The iPhone in Los Angeles came in with speeds of 1.35 MBPS downloads and .21 uploads, while Google’s Nexus One on T-Mobile in Seattle came in significantly slower at .29 MBPS downloads and .35 MBPS uploads.

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