Ookla touts new API for better Speedtest data

Ookla earlier this year launched a new API that can track connection speeds alongside network type and service plan information. Regulators may be interested.

Mike Dano, Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies

May 8, 2024

3 Min Read
Smartphone display showing a speedtest app
(Source: Joko/Alamy Stock Photo)

Ookla has developed a new application programming interface (API) for network operators that the company said will generate more granular and useful network performance data.

Ookla, a company that provides network connectivity insights and intelligence, is discussing its API with regulators at the FCC. According to Ookla officials, the new interface could help regulators and network operators create more accurate broadband consumer labels.

"Both delivered network performance and actual consumer experience are important for regulators and service providers to understand to continue improving connectivity to the public," Ookla wrote in a recent FCC filing. "With unprecedented investment in broadband infrastructure expansion now underway, measuring results is critical to ensuring that the impact is maximized, and service levels are maintained."

Bryan Darr, VP of government affairs at Ookla, told Light Reading that the company's new "Enrichment API" launched at the beginning of this year.

"Ookla's Enrichment API is designed to append descriptive metadata to the record of each test taken with Speedtest," Darr wrote in response to questions from Light Reading. Speedtest, Ookla's flagship product, measures the speed of Internet connections.

The new API "helps Internet service providers get more granular views into network performance and helps tackle the challenge of accurate identification of broadband technology associated with a specific network, particularly for those with multiple technologies deployed," Darr explained. "This comes with a myriad of benefits, including the ability for ISPs to link real-time test results to the technology or plan speed tier that a consumer subscribes to, which can help customer care representatives better address pain points."

Darr said that all US Internet providers will need to report their "typical" download and upload speeds as part of the FCC's newly imposed broadband consumer labels, which call for ISPs to disclose consumer-friendly information about prices and speeds at the point of sale. 

"The capability that Ookla has introduced through our Enrichment API will provide operators with third party validation for the numbers they are required to publish and update every six months on the new Broadband Consumer Labels," Darr explained. "Many telecom regulatory bodies have minimum performance requirements associated with broadband definitions and eligibility for funding opportunities."

He added: "Segmentation of testing between technologies, subscriber plans, and other metrics can greatly improve the quality of reporting and understanding of services delivered, assisting both the regulator and the service providers it oversees."

Profiting from data

Ookla is offering its new API for free to Internet providers. However, the company declined to disclose which network operators are using it. The company also declined to specify whether it is hoping to sell its data to regulators at the FCC.

But Ookla's FCC filing seems to indicate that is a goal: "Ookla urges the continued and expanded use of crowdsource data as a critical part of the foundation in analyzing both mobile and fixed broadband availability throughout the United States and to ensure that the funding available to expand this connectivity is directed where it can provide the most public good," the company wrote.

Ookla is one of several divisions that make up the "connectivity" business of publishing company Ziff Davis, which also operates brands like PCMag, Mashable and IGN Entertainment.

Ookla offers connectivity monitoring, testing and insights under the RootMetrics, Consumer QoE and SpatialBuzz brands. The company provides fixed broadband and mobile network testing applications, data and analysis.

More than 11 million tests are initiated by consumers each day across all of Ookla's platforms, with more than 50 billion tests completed to date. As a result, Ookla said it maintains comprehensive analytics on worldwide Internet performance and accessibility.

About the Author(s)

Mike Dano

Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies, Light Reading

Mike Dano is Light Reading's Editorial Director, 5G & Mobile Strategies. Mike can be reached at [email protected], @mikeddano or on LinkedIn.

Based in Denver, Mike has covered the wireless industry as a journalist for almost two decades, first at RCR Wireless News and then at FierceWireless and recalls once writing a story about the transition from black and white to color screens on cell phones.

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