A few years back the FCC decided rather belatedly to start using actual data from actual broadband connections
to start influencing policy decisions, a policy that involved using UK stat firm SamKnows and custom in-home routers to collect data on service quality. The endeavor has paid some dividends, the FCC occasionally at least naming and shaming particularly pathetic ISP performance
resulting in some scattered but significant improvements for consumers
. Now in a new public order
(pdf) the FCC says they're aiming to do the same thing with wireless:
The FCC now proposes a program to develop information on mobile broadband service performance in the United States utilizing the collaborative model underlying the success of its fixed broadband program. As the Measuring Broadband America program has proven, the broadband performance data produced by the statistically sound methodology of the program allows comparisons and analyses that are valuable to consumers and spur competition among service providers.
Unfortunately while the FCC's name and shame approach has nudged some under-performing ISPs into action (cough -- Cablevision), other ISPs in less competitive markets have simply ignored the results and actually managed to get worse (Frontier
). Naming and shaming as a result can only accomplish so much -- and it certainly can't manufacture competition out of thin air. Especially in a wireless market where two companies control the vast majority of available spectrum, transit and backhaul resources.