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The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) has just released a new app for iOS devices called FCC Speed Test. As the name suggests, the app is designed to measure data speeds for both cellular and Wi-Fi connections.

The app is part of the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America program initiative, which aims to better inform consumers about mobile broadband performance, and it measures download/upload speed, latency and packet loss…

From the App Store description:

Mobile broadband has become part of our everyday infrastructure. We hope the app helps provide greater clarity about your mobile broadband performance. Once installed, you can test your mobile broadband performance at the touch of a button. Aggregated, anonymous data will also help us build a map of mobile broadband performance across the country.

– Run manual tests on Download Speed, Upload Speed, Latency and Packet Loss. (Make sure to disable Wi-Fi before testing cellular broadband speeds.)
– Additional passive metrics collected such as Carrier, Country Code and GPS location.
– Access real-time performance data on your device.
– Historical results available at the touch of a screen.
– Be a volunteer! You can help the FCC’s Measuring Broadband America program in developing the first open and transparent information on mobile broadband performance in the United States.
– By default, there is a 100 MB limit per month but this can be changed according to your preference–always consider your broadband usage carefully on limited data allowance plans.

The FCC is using the data that it collects from the app to build a country-wide map of mobile broadband performance. Now, anytime an app mentions that it ‘collects data’ it raises a few red flags, but the Commission says privacy is paramount.

“Privacy is paramount. The FCC has taken significant measures to ensure the privacy and confidentiality of volunteers for this program. Using privacy measures developed and reviewed by a diverse team of privacy experts, any data that could potentially identify specific smartphones is analyzed and processed to ensure privacy protection.”

If you’re interested, you can find FCC Speed Test in the App Store for free.