The FCC has expanded its Measuring
Broadband America program to include mobile broadband.
"We know from experience: transparency on broadband speeds
drives improvement in broadband speeds. Our ongoing Measuring Broadband
America program has helped improve performance in wired broadband,"
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski said in announcing the new tests. "Our new
mobile broadband measurement initiative extends the program to smart phones and
other wireless devices."
According to the FCC, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and
Verizon, as well as their principal trade association, CTIA, have agreed to cooperate
and the FCC has scheduled a meeting for Sept. 21 to discuss the program.
It will also enlist the input of public interest groups,
researchers and others.
Rather than advertised speeds, which FCC broadband data
collection has been based on, the Measuring Broadband America study -- the FCC
recently released its second report -- which was pitched in the National
Broadband Plan, measures speed and performance "delivered to the
home." Given that advertised and actual speed can vary, that allows for
"scientific" comparisons of different service providers. Major ISPs,
including top cable operators, participate in the wired measurement program.
The announcement follows the FCC's release of its latest
advanced services deployment report card which included a Notice of Inquiry
asking, among other things, whether the FCC should start counting mobile
broadband toward that benchmark, something that a real-world speed/performance
test could facilitate.