That is, major cell carriers claim widespread coverage in rural and exurban areas that is simply not the case.
People have had an incentive to expose this because of the federal funding for wireless expansion, but really it is a "truth in advertising" issue.
I really do count it as lucky. My neighbor doesn't get anything at all - inside or out, but the coverage map says he's good. A few years ago, before buying a phone, he borrowed a Verizon phone (from them) to make sure it worked at home. It did, he bought it and a few months later it quit working. The phone is fine, I guess they are no longer using the tower that served him. I don't think they updated their coverage map.
I don't know what causes that, but I have learned to ignore the signal strength display on Verizon.
> Did you know that with Sprint LTE Android devices, the signal strength indicator at the top does not show your LTE signal strength? Even if 4G is displayed next to it?
> This signal displayed here is always your 1x (voice signal), and it is not your 3G EVDO signal strength, nor your LTE signal strength. Regardless of whether it says 3G or 4G next to it. This is the cause of a lot of confusion.
edit: looks like they might https://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=1142503
i spend a lot of time in airports, one of my conversation starters is 'tell me something about your work i can't find on google'.
i said this to a person who inspects/installs cell towers. this person told me that a few years ago instead of installing new or upgrading towers for 4G LTE, on a lot of the towers the company had them install a chip that makes it look like users have 4g LTE signal but it's only 4g or 3g and not LTE.
i'm sure someone will come along in the comments and tell me this person lied and this is impossible, and that may be true, just throwing my two pennies out there.
As the other posts said below, AT&T has had a history of pushing minor changes in early technology as a new generation of that technology. The most recent is their 5Ge nonsense.
Back in the early 2010's they pushed an update to iOS to change HSPA+ 3G to display as 4G. It's not, but the behavior carried over to other carriers. T-Mobile was closest to being able to argue it as 4G as they deployed DC-HSPA+ which could provide 42mbit in ideal conditions.
It's possible that there was something lost in translation between the installer and you that there was a radio component upgrade on the antenna that allowed HSPA+ to be used over the older UMTS and HSPA. Now most towers have the radios and antennas integrated as one component, but on weak towers and older installs the radios and the antennas were separate.
I know a bit more about T-Mobile USA, and one of the things they did a few years back to bring up 2G-only regions was get better backhaul in then plug LTE radios into the 2G antennas, making the sites broadcast 2G and LTE on band 2, 1900mhz. Later on they would add band 12 LTE by hooking in an antenna that could be tuned for 700mhz.
ITU relaxed their definition of 4G to allow for "significant upgrades to 3G technology", so blame them for everyone jumping on the bandwagon: https://fcw.com/blogs/mobileplatform/2011/03/att-hspa-4g-pro...
That said, the iPhone I used for a while did better than my old Nokia and my current Samsung, so it certainly seems to pertain to the hardware, too. I’m guessing many people change carriers at the same time as they change phones, which might make it hard to figure out which one is to blame.
When I travel through to my In-laws in WV we get no internet signal for about 2.5 hours. That has to be due to the low population in Western Maryland.
Last summer I found I could get about 3Mbps down from an AT&T tower that was two valleys away that was using 700 Mhz spectrum -- with a directional antenna.
In some of the more rural areas, the hilltops are roadless so any attempt to put in wireless infrastructure isn't just a matter of running wires for power and data, but actually building roads.
Further, since call signs are always written in uppercase (WRR-FM, KIRO-AM, KBTC-TV), some hams are apt to write the name of the hobby as HAM out of habit/solidarity.
So while you're technically right that "ham" is more of "ham-fisted" or "what a ham" variety, you're not following the internal culture.
They say they cover 98% (ish) of Americans. You can cover that amount of Americans while only covering 60% of the land mass. This means rural areas are typically lower priority ... But they always soon to get interstates.
And the page that links to the full report: https://publicservice.vermont.gov/content/mobile-wireless-20...
> "What we were looking at was being almost completely foreclosed from any of it because our state was considered nearly completely covered with 4G LTE service," [Clay] Purvis, [the state's telecommunications director] said. "And now we've opened up a significant amount of that space."
I don't know what he will think of the idea but I'd sure like to see a coverage map with real data, not the carriers version of the truth.
It's also not really a great fit for data that you'd want to gather systematically. For signal strength, you'd get lots of data in places that people frequent (and that tend to have good signal) and little data in more remote places, where the measurements would be of more value.
I hope the state gets the funding it needs.
When I saw that picture I thought the same thing.
But since their goal was to document how bad the reception is, any extra interference could only help make their case. :)
I put a smiley there, but this did seem very haphazard; not a well thought out setup.
I am considering getting a landline for my next home, and just realized I have no idea what a fair price is. I have not had a landline my entire life (always used a cell).
Is a hardline cheap in these areas or do they charge about as much as a cell since they know there is demand for a reliable connection?
A few things.
First, there is a small bit of power going over traditional copper lines, and you are able to dial 911 even if the power goes out or the internet goes down.
Second it's a sociological mechanism. People in modern times are incredibly entitled, so saying "I didn't want to answer your call because I was busy" makes them irrationally angry.
But if you give out your landline you can just say you weren't at home.
All carriers have this data for all of the carriers in each region. If you’re a big customer, they will even show it to you under NDA.
What would be "better equipment" in this case? Professional/enterprise/labatory radio equipment, rather than cell phones? CNC milled/3d printed racks rather than a cardboard box? I don't think there's much you can improve here.
They would fight hard to keep that data proprietary, as certain property owners might be more aggressive about lease pricing or royalties.
Many many years ago the FM radio station at college wanted to get FCC approval to increase broadcast power to 10 KW. In order to justify that, some students drove around taking signal strength measurements all over the area. They then picked the worst measurements to submit to the FCC.
This wasn't a violation of any rules. Let's say (for example) that the FCC submission needs 50 measurements spaced apart a certain distance. If you have actually taken 150 measurements then you can easily select a coherent set of 50 that show just how bad things are and justify why you need that 10 KW non-commercial license.
It's possible for the cell carriers to do something like this, but in reverse. It may make business sense for them to only retain/report measurement data that makes them look good?
Cell towers aren't cheap to put up. If carriers can obtain "decent" coverage with fewer towers, then it's smart for them to do that?
Of course, the carriers already have very very very granular data. They should be able to gather, and perhaps actually do gather, data from every single cellphone transmission as it establishes both voice and data connections. The carriers could/should use that information to erect more towers and to tweak antenna orientations on existing towers.
In my experience, however, this doesn't seem to happen. The same areas around me have dead spots that persist for years. This is in relatively flat suburban terrain, without too many large hills or tall buildings to interfere.
So in my anecdotal experience, Verizon doesn't give a shit about poor signal strength. And they're perhaps? the best at caring, so what does that say about the others?