Millions of people in the United States continue to be hampered by slow internet speeds. Not only does that mean they can’t stream Netflix without laggy buffering or fast uploading of photos to Facebook; it means not having access to online doctors.
The problem has only become more apparent in the past year, when people have been forced to work from home and children have been forced to attend school virtually via computer connections. Combine that with more devices connected to a home’s WiFi and people streaming movies and TV shows via Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, and other services. Oh, and gamers who spend a lot of time playing with others over an internet connection.
FCC Says High-Speed Broadband Isn’t Nice Anymore; it is a necessity. Without high-speed Internet, many rural Americans cannot access online health care and do not have nearby hospitals. Veterans, as well as farmers and Medicaid recipients, face difficulties in obtaining financial assistance.
The FCC faces a major challenge in identifying areas with slow or no internet connections. Here you can help with an app from the FCC.
The FCC is asking Americans to download their “Speed Test” smartphone app to test their internet speeds and report them to the commission. Apps for iPhones, iPads and Android devices can be found in the Apple and Google app stores.
Once the app is downloaded, you will be prompted to give it permission to see your location. This is required for the FCC to create a broadband map to see where slow speeds stand out.
The speed test sends and receives data over the network your phone is connected to. So before you run it, make sure you are using your primary WiFi connection and are close to the router. I would also suggest disconnecting WiFi and running the test again to test your carrier network speeds. If there are areas that you know have a slow connection, do the test there as well. I know of several places around town where I can’t access the internet and where Spotify can’t connect to my provider’s cell towers. I try to run the speed test in these areas frequently and report it to the FCC.
The FCC also added a page to its website for users to report problems or concerns with their connections.
The Commission says more accurate maps will allow broadband funding programs to target support for services to areas most in need.