On August 25, 2010 (according to the FCC’s website) the FCC released iPhone and Android apps which allowed consumers to test their mobile broadband speeds and, ostensibly, allow the FTC to compare mobile broadband speeds against the speeds advertised by mobile carriers. The app was received with mixed reviews, Gizmodo pointed out that “plenty of unofficial rankings of 3G and 4G speeds get published every year, and they seem to have little, if any, impact.”
In August 2011, July 2012, and February 2013, the FCC released their “Measuring Broadband America” reports, which measured advertised versus actual download speeds from various wireless carriers. The below graph is from the February 2013 report.
1 – The apps don’t exist as of today (on either Android or iTunes). When we contacted 1-800-FED-INFO we were told that they didn’t know why the apps weren’t there any longer. “Maybe they’re fixing them and they’ll be back up later”
2 – The sidebar lists the apps as having a cumulative 3,688 reviews (between iTunes and Google Play), yet the apps no longer exist in either store which means that the API from those stores should return no information when queried. Does this mean that these numbers and stars are hard-coded into the website?
3 – The findings show that even as recently as February 2013 only 5 of the 15 measured companies were at 100% or more of their advertised speeds. What is the point of the program if after 3 years of measurements and data collection wireless providers are not held accountable to their advertisements?
We are genuinely curious to learn more about these applications. It’s not the worst idea to monitor download speeds in order to hold wireless carriers accountable for their advertised speeds, but we’re wondering why the government is going to a great deal of effort to duplicate readily available information and why the applications are no longer available. If you or somoene you know has this app still installed in their phone please let us know at @ConsumersFirst
About Consumers’ Research: Consumers’ Research was incorporated in New York City in 1929 as a result of the success of F.J. Schlink’s and Stuart Chase’s book Your Money’s Worth. It is the oldest consumer organization in the United States. Learn more at ConsumersResearch.org or follow Consumers’ Research on Twitter or Facebook.