Man drives 6,000 miles to prove Uncle Sam's cellphone coverage maps are wrong – and, boy, did he manage it

www.theregister.co.uk | 1/17/2019 | Staff
ajoy26 (Posted by) Level 3
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A Vermont state employee drove 6,000 miles in six weeks to prove that the cellular coverage maps from the US government suck – and was wildly successful.

In fact not only did he prove conclusively that reports delivered to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) by mobile operators aren't worth the paper they're printed on but also swung a spotlight on just how bad bureaucracy can get when it comes Washington DC.

Corey - Chase - Telecommunications - Infrastructure - Specialist

Corey Chase, a telecommunications infrastructure specialist who works for the Vermont Department of Public Service (PSD), undertook the monster road trip with some specialized equipment: six phones, each connected to a different mobile nework, and a custom piece of software, G-NetTrack, that carried out constant measurements of download speeds.

Everyone knows that the reports sent to the FCC on both broadband and cellphone internet speeds are awful, and are often carefully manipulated by operators to make it seem that Americans are getting excellent service when they aren't. But what sparked Vermont and Chase to go to so much trouble was, of course, money.

FCC - LTE - Speeds - Country - Plans

The FCC has set aside $4.5bn to ensure that 4G LTE speeds are available across the country and plans to divvy it up according to their coverage maps. But when Vermont took a look at the claimed coverage of its state, it was amazed to find that as far as the FCC was concerned 95 per cent of the state was receiving speeds of 5Mbps or higher. Just two swathes of territory accounting for 1,300 square km out of the state's total 25,000 square km were deemed eligible.

Officials knew that the reality on the ground was quite different and so decided to take advantage of the FCC's appeal process to try to get a bigger slice of the federal pie.

Vermont - Road - Trip

Vermont decided to undertake a statewide road trip to get a...
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