Crowd-Sourced Speed Test Data

Pete CodellaNews

The Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has released several speed test applications in an effort to gather anonymous data, from the desktops and smartphones of thousands of volunteers, that can be used to assess broadband performance nationwide. The speed test data acquired is available through the National Broadband Map API Services for developers.

The maps in this blog post (below) display the median download speeds by county that were collected by the FCC as of December 2013. The median download speeds by county are grouped into the following categories: residential home, mobile, schools/libraries and business. The number of tests conducted are also indicated in parentheses for each county.

Over the past few years the Utah Broadband Project has explored the use of speed test data and even provided access to a consumer speed test function on this website. The crowd-sourced speed data was a useful ingredient for the Project’s review of provider submitted data for issues and omissions. However, because the available speed test datasets do not differentiate between land-line technology types, specific providers, and because there are many potentially unknown performance variables associated with each test (like speed plans), the overall speed test data results are quite coarse and are only marginally useful as standalone data products. Here, as promised above, is a snapshot of speed test data aggregated by county to illustrate these points.

SpeedTestBBMap_HomeMobile SpeedTestBBMap_SchoolBusiness

The NBM API developer service provides many broadband statistics to the public and is a collaborative effort between the National Telecommunications & Information Administration (NTIA) and the FCC.