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BBC publishes 3G survey findings

by Scott Bicheno on 24 August 2011, 11:55

Tags: BBC

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Summer project

Back in July the BBC created a free mobile app that allowed users to share their mobile coverage data with it and network analysis company Epitiro, with the aim of producing an independent survey of the extent of mobile - and especially 3G - coverage across the UK.

In the end over 44,000 people downloaded the app and today the Beeb published the findings in the form of an interactive map, which allows you to search post-codes and zoom in and out.

You can access the interactive map here, and at first glance it seems quite useful - offering an apparently quite detailed map of 2G and 3G coverage in your local area. But the crowdsourced nature of this survey resulted in many gaps, meaning this is far from authoritative.

This is useful is where figures were available, but phone users were only able to get 2G, rather than 3G coverage. The Beeb is calling these ‘notspots', and claims it's evidence that operators still have a way to go with their 3G networks. Anyone who has tried to use Google Maps, for example, even in Central London, will already know this to be the case.

The operators were benignly indulgent of the Beeb's efforts, treating it as the dilettante first effort it was. "O2 said it ‘welcomed the crowd sourcing experiment', but added that more detail - for example signal quality - would have been useful," said the Beeb report. "Everything Everywhere - the parent company of Orange and T-Mobile - said it ‘was a step in the right direction' for offering consumers transparent information about coverage."

They seem to be saying: "OK BBC, you've had your fun. Now how about you go back to covering the news instead of trying to make it? There's a good state broadcaster, pat-pat."

 



HEXUS Forums :: 6 Comments

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I took part in this, but have doubts about the accuracy of the data.

That is they are reporting where I live to be 3G on the three network. I get barely any signal in my house and very weak 2G signal outside and I really expect there no to have been many people in my area recording data.

Several times when looking at the App, it has a map section and that used to regularly show the wrong location, showing when I was in work on full 3G that my current location was at home…
Not only that but it doesn't show how massively overcrowded the mobile networks are….having a signal is only half the battle these days!
go.mole;2115040
I took part in this, but have doubts about the accuracy of the data.

That is they are reporting where I live to be 3G on the three network. I get barely any signal in my house and very weak 2G signal outside and I really expect there no to have been many people in my area recording data.

Several times when looking at the App, it has a map section and that used to regularly show the wrong location, showing when I was in work on full 3G that my current location was at home…

Yes, I agree its not accurate.. at my home address I get a good O2 3G signal and have had a weak Vodafone 3G signal in the past. This map implies I don't get any 3G on any network.
Maybe its work in progress this map but maybe Ofcom should be doing this rather than the BBC.
Wish they'd fix the lines on the ground tbh :\
I've gone from 24mb in a rural area to 3mb (at best) in a built up area with no plans for infinity or fibre in the near future. sucks.

brasc
The BBC shouldn't go back to reporting the news, because it is totally incapable of doing so accurately.