The Federal Communications Commission said Thursday that it would begin to measure the speeds of wireless networks, a move to give consumers more information on the performance of their wireless providers and to keep carriers accountable for advertised speeds.
The FCC said AT&T, Spring, T-Mobile and Verizon and other wireless carriers have agreed to participate in their program. And the FCC’s new program acknowledges the growing reliance of consumers on wireless devices to access the Web. Of the nation’s 331 million cellphone subscriptions, an estimated half are smartphones, according to trade group CTIA.
The regulatory agency already measures wireline broadband speeds to the home and releases its findings in an annual report.
The reports also keep Internet service providers accountable to deliver the speeds they advertise. In the FCC’s July 2012 Measuring Mobile America report, the agency found that the five biggest Internet service providers delivered advertised speeds by 100 percent, up from about 87 percent in 2011.
“We know from experience: Transparency on broadband speeds drives improvement in broadband speeds,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a release. “Our new mobile broadband measurement initiative extends the program to smartphones and other wireless devices.”