The FCC has released its own open-source speed test app in the Play Store, giving any Android user access to mobile data speed information on their device. The main goal of the app, the FCC claims, is to empower wireless customers in the U.S. to know how well their smartphone’s mobile network is performing. Just as you would expect, you can perform active data speed tests, which return download, upload, latency and packet loss information. You’ll also get extra info such as signal strength, SIM operator code and network operator name.
If you choose to allow it (the feature is enabled by default), the app will periodically wake your phone (also notifying you in the notification bar) and perform speed tests, reporting the data back to the FCC for aggregation. By default it will use a maximum of 100MB of data per month, although you have the control to limit that amount further or turn it off completely if you’re data conscious.
Not only will this provide the FCC with great data so that it can further shape policies for U.S. wireless carriers, but it’s also a great alternative for those wishing to do their own testing. Beginning in early 2014, the FCC plans to make this data available to the public so that they can view average data speeds on a map — and later with info-graphics — as well.
You can grab a download of the free FCC Speed Test app from the Play Store link above, if you’re so inclined.