The FCC says almost three quarters of cell phone users are happy with their Internet connection, according to recent survey results released by the agency.
Thirty-three percent of cell phone users were “very satisfied” with the speed on Internet access on their handsets while another 38 percent reported being “somewhat satisfied” with the connection speed of their device. Thirteen percent were either “not too” satisfied or “not at all” satisfied with the speed at which their device connected to the Internet.
The figures were derived from the 888 smartphone users who were among the 3,005 adults surveyed by the FCC. The agency did not include users of mobile broadband dongles in its survey.
Satisfaction rates for mobile broadband speeds on handsets were lower than those for wired broadband. Ninety-one percent of wired broadband users said they were “very” or “somewhat” satisfied with the speed they get at home.
The FCC attributed the discrepancy in satisfaction levels between wired and wireless broadband users to the inherent capacity constraints of current wireless networks, which the agency referred to as “not yet technologically capable of the same speeds as home broadband.”
The main focus of the FCC survey was whether broadband subscribers knew the speed of their broadband service. The survey found that 80 percent of broadband users in the United States do not know the speed of their broadband connection.
“Speed matters. The more broadband subscribers know about what speeds they need and what speeds they get, the more they can make the market work and push faster speeds over broadband networks,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.
The survey is part of the agency’s overall broadband speed initiative, which involves several bureaus and offices and is being coordinated by the commission’s Consumer Task Force. Through the initiative, the agency will measure the actual speeds that consumers receive and compare them to the speeds that broadband providers advertise.
The agency announced two initiatives around measuring broadband speeds concurrent with the release of the survey results. The first initiative involves asking 10,000 volunteers to participate in a scientific study to measure home broadband speed in the United States. Specialized hardware will be installed in the homes of volunteers to measure the performance of all the country’s major Internet service providers across geographic regions and service tiers.
The FCC issued a notice asking for comment on the test plan last month and plans to use its results in a “State of Broadband” report to be released later this year. U.S. residents can register as a volunteer for the national test at www.TestMyISP.com.
The agency’s second initiative came down in the form of a public notice from the FCC’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau to look at ways to measure mobile broadband speed. The notice asks for input on the best ways to measure mobile broadband speeds, the ways that speed measurements can be used to help improve service and the information consumers should have about the speed of mobile broadband coverage. Ultimately, the FCC hopes to develop tests that help each individual consumer in the United States determine his or her own broadband speed.
The agency took a first step in March by providing two speed tests that consumers can use at home or on their wireless phones. These consumer tests can be found at http://www.broadband.gov/qualitytest/about/. The national initiatives announced today are intended to develop more scientific and consistent broadband speed measures.
“Today, most people just know that their home broadband speed is supposed to be ‘blazing fast,’” said FCC Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau Chief Joel Gurin in a statement. “They need more meaningful information to know exactly what speed they need for the applications they want to run, and what provider and plan is their best choice.”
The initiatives come after the FCC recommended developing mechanisms to determine the broadband speeds consumers are getting in their homes and on their mobile devices in its National Broadband Plan.
Filed Under: Industry regulations