The BBC is conducting a voluntary survey in order to find out just what exactly the nation’s 2G and 3G coverage looks like.
While carriers already provide their own coverage maps, the BBC would like to discover just how accurate the UK’s providers have been and how real-world mobile applications compare to what ‘should’ happen on paper.
Over the course of the next month the BBC will be taking volunteers in order to help boost their data pool. Measurements are made using an app developed by Epitiro that can currently be only downloaded on to Android handsets. Unfortunately there is no iPhone version of this app, as there is too much difficulty collecting accurate much data on iOS with a program that constantly runs in the background.
We’re unsure what kind of effect running an app like this will have on battery life, but there’s an easy way to find out. We definitely encourage as many people to take part in this survey as possible. The app is free and, if you find it kills to much battery life, you can simply delete it from your device whenever you wish. The more information the BBC is able to gather from this survey the more accurate their eventual findings will be.
An accurate coverage map of the UK will not only provide customers will invaluable information when choosing a mobile phone plan but could also spur some much needed competition to expand 3G coverage even further across the nation. After all, Ofcom estimates that in terms of land mass only 76% of the UK has 3G coverage; there’s always room for improvement.
For the official BBC 3G survey app search the Android Market for “uk3g”.
What's your broadband speed like? Find out.
The map is created through overlays over Google Maps, using data from ISPs, and is said to be updated every year.
"We are now developing a clear picture of the UK's fixed broadband infrastructure and how it delivers for consumers," said Ed Richards, Ofcom chief executive.
"We hope that this information will stimulate further rollout of broadband infrastructure and better performance for households and businesses," he added.
Users can click on a specific area of the map to show detailed statistics of the area. The scale is from 1-5, with colours marking each range, with green showing the fastest and red the slowest.
The map shows that 68% of homes in the UK have a fixed broadband connection, with an average speed of 7.5Mbps. Brighton and Hove show the highest takeup of broadband at 80%, with Edinburgh showing the fastest average speed of 10.1Mbps.
You can view the map here.