FCC planning to report mobile broadband speeds

FCC planning to report mobile broadband speeds

Summary: It's not just the broadband plugged into the wall at home keeping you connected to the outside world: it's the mobile broadband that keeps you connected on the go.


The U.S. Federal Communications Commission announced today it will begin reporting mobile broadband speeds and performance, much in the same way the government agency does with home broadband services.

The FCC is planning to measure mobile broadband speeds; an extension of its landline speeds report.

The idea is simple: the FCC wants to know -- and publish -- exactly what mobile broadband speeds users are getting versus the service that users are paying for. Because let's be honest: not all of us are getting the speeds we actually pay for, as discovered with previous FCC landline reports.

Not only will it name and shame mobile network providers that fail to live up to customer expectations, it should spark competition among other players in the sector who are out for more than just strong revenue earnings and profit.

"We know from experience: Transparency on broadband speeds drives improvement in broadband speeds," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.

The plan is part of the FCC's National Broadband Plan, and the cream of the mobile network providers crop is understandably supporting such efforts. Members of the CTIA, the international wireless telecoms association that represents its members to the U.S. government -- including AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon among others -- has also thrown its weight behind the proposed plan.

On September 21, the FCC will hold an open meeting to discuss how to acquire and analyze the data. (No word back from the FCC on whether they will provide coffee and nibbles.)

Topics: Broadband, Government US, Mobility, Smartphones

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  • The jigg's up!

    Sprint executives just dropped a collective doodie...
  • Not enough....

    There should be fines every time the speed averages less than what the customers are paying for and large fines at that.
    • Not feasible

      All the providers would do is guarantee a low average throughput..

      How would this be enforced and how would you account for outages? Things break all the time!
  • In addition to data rates, how about the fact that data is data?

    I suppose it will do no good to try and explain that what cell phone companies call "bandwidth" is no such thing. Or that all of the 4G's (except 4G LTE) are actually 3G). Or that 4G LTE will never actaully evolve into real 4G. But the FCC could do the public quite a serivice by pointing out that, although physcially text, voice, and data are sometimes conveved over different chucks of the RF specturm on possbily different species of equipment (a situations that will soon go away), that text is data, voice is data, and - well - data is data. And therefor all cell phone companies could do three things: send us a bill at the end of the month for bytes of data used (just as power companies, gas companies, and water companies do for meterd quantities of their product we use), cell phones could easily show a running total of the bill one is running up, and therefore, they could all stop offering all those bewidlering arrays of "plans" (plans to do just what? bilk us?) based on faux distinctions between text, voice, and data.
    • Good point

      I also think the FCC shouldn't stop at mobile. Landline internet providers are just as guilty. I chuckle every time I see an ATT high speed DSL advertisement. Pay for 3Mbps and get 1Mbps while cable sells you 15, 30, 60+ Mbps and gives you even faster for the money. I have yet to see Uverse work as advertised either.