The FCC, love 'em or hate 'em, has been instrumental in increasing broadband speeds across America. The National Broadband Plan has encouraged ISPs to increase their speeds and spread the Internet to more communities across the U.S. Their latest report on broadband performance was encouraging. Now they're taking it to the next level.
The FCC announced today that they will be launching a measurement of mobile broadband service across the nation. They will hold an open meeting on September 21 to take input from concerned citizens and stake holders on how they should proceed with the test.
Much like the broadband performance report, the FCC will create a tool that lets American citizens test the speeds of their mobile broadband connections. This will allow them to report their speeds directly to the FCC so they can compile a report of which service providers are actually providing the speeds and coverage that they promise in advertisements.
The FCC hopes that the data they collect will prove valuable to consumers who wish if they're being overcharged for subpar service. They also hope that it will help to spur competition among mobile carriers. It would be nice to see AT&T and Verizon actually compete instead of the current charade of competition they put on. An unlimited data plan like T-Mobile currently has in place would be welcome from the big players as well, but the FCC's test is unlikely to influence such an outcome.
Interested parties who attend the open meeting will be able to meet with Commission staff from the Office of Engineering and Technology. Representatives from the Consumer and Government Affairs Bureau will also be present to take questions from both the industry and consumers.
The National Broadband Plan is more than just increasing speeds of broadband. The U.S. is currently the leader when it comes to mobile broadband, and the FCC obviously wants to keep that lead. Consumers holding wireless carriers accountable is the first step to an even better mobile infrastructure. In our world of wireless devices, such an infrastructure is becoming increasingly important.