New FCC GIO Mike Byrne announced an on-line poll/application to test broadband speeds when he spoke at the NSGIC Midyear Conference in Annapolis, Maryland, this week. That application went live on the FCC’s Broadband.gov site yesterday.
The application records a tester’s location and then runs one of two existing speed-testing tools. The key part for the FCC is the tester’s location; they will use the test results, and the geographic locations, as part of their larger task of mapping just what the nation’s broadband capacity is, and where that capacity exists.
As a companion story in Wired magazine’s Epicenter puts it:
Broadband connection testing isn’t new, and is freely available online, but this might mark the first time that individual tests help to lead to informed policy making.
The FCC has also released mobile apps for iPhone and Android (search for FCC at your App Store) to allow smartphone users to test from where-ever they happen to be.