Why you should test your internet connection
High-speed internet or “broadband” services do not reach all County residents – especially those in sparsely populated rural areas with rugged terrain. We’re working hard to expand access using federal and state funding, but the County needs your help.
The problem: Most funding is directed to people who don't have service or cannot get service of at least 25 Mbps. The service information is supplied by ISPs, which tend to overstate coverage when they report to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). This means the County may get less funding than it needs to expand services.
The solution: Check your access to service and test your internet speed with the FCC Speed Test app on your mobile device (phone, tablet, etc.). This will provide valuable data that the County can use to correct coverage information and the opportunity to expand broadband services. It is also the primary way that the FCC can correct service claims from mobile providers.
Download the FCC
Speed Test app
Requires an Apple or Android mobile device
- Can I use any speed testing app?
Use the FCC app first. The FCC’s Speed Test app generates the only data that the FCC uses to challenge ISP claims of service and available speeds. Additionally, the data can be acquired for free by the public, governments and researchers.
Other apps consider test result information proprietary, charge fees for access and often don’t share the raw data. The FCC will consider this information but it carries lest weight since it's much harder for them to verify.
- Why is public data important?
Making data available for free will reduce County expenses. It also increases the likelihood that the public or researchers will study broadband access. The data is anonymized to that no one will be able to identify you.
- What if my speeds are less than my provider claims to offer?
Internet Service Providers (ISPs) report their coverage information to the FCC twice each year, which includes the advertised speeds offered at different locations. These reports frequently overestimate coverage and affect rural communities more frequently. If your speeds are slower than advertised, please check your service and we will report your problem to the FCC.
Additionally, some grants that the County plans to pursue use “delivered” or “available” speeds instead of advertised speeds to determine eligibility. Logging real-world speeds with the FCC Speed Testing app will provide a more accurate snapshot of service and may open avenues for more funding.
- Why do some areas of the county have slow or no service?
Building infrastructure is significantly more expensive in rural areas with rough terrain than in urban areas. This makes it more difficult for ISPs to profit from those investments. Providers sometimes perform minimal network maintenance and upgrades for the same reason, leaving customers with slower speeds and older technologies.
- What if I can’t get internet at my home or business?
It's critical that you check your service, which only takes a few moments. This will allow us to report a lack of availability at your location and challenge an ISPs claims of service at your address with the FCC. We understand how important high-speed internet access is for all County residents and are working to expand service.
- Does connection speed matter?
Absolutely. Connection speed is essential to many residents’ professional, academic and personal lives. The COVID-19 pandemic made reliable and fast internet even more of a necessity. Additionally, high speed internet has been proven to increase economic development and can boost our local economy.
- Should I check my Wi-Fi or my mobile connection?
Both. The FCC Speed Test app will check your Wi-Fi by default if you if you are connected to your home network. Otherwise, it will check your mobile connection. You can switch back and forth at any time in the app.
- How often should I test my speeds?
Test weekly if possible, which is the default on Android devices. Most people test when they are experiencing a slowdown and that can skew the data. Regular testing provides a more accurate snapshot of your internet speeds.
- What if I like a different app?
Ultimately, you can use any app you choose. However, the FCC considers data from other companies less reliable and only uses FCC Speed Test data. In addition, other apps require the County to purchase the data, diverting funding away from other broadband projects.
- Can I test speeds from my laptop or computer?
The FCC Speed Test app is not available on laptops or computers. It only works on Apple and Android mobile devices. If your device is connected to a home network, the app will test that by default.
- Where can I learn more?
The FCC web site has a lot of additional information, including a more detailed description of the app, privacy policies and tips on how to use the app.