Blog Post

The FCC map of places your mobile data plan won’t work

The Federal Communications Commission is spearheading a big effort to get rural Americans online, and to help, later this year carriers can apply for a $300 million fund to bring wireless broadband to the heartlands. Only it’s not the heartlands, as the nifty interactive map shows. The largest areas without 3G coverage are in the Western U.S.

So for those of you planning a road trip, a move or who might want to avoid the lure of the web while on holiday, the map gives a big picture view at how much physical area of the U.S. isn’t connected via 3G –something that isn’t always apparent because carriers measure their coverage in terms of the percent of the population covered.

For an overview of some of the other measures the FCC is taking with regards to getting the 18 million rural Americans online who don’t have access to real broadband, check out the FCC’s blog posting on the topic. The final paragraph is probably worth noting for all you startups because it means your free conference call services that so hack off Ma Bell and even Google(s goog) are protected.

2 Responses to “The FCC map of places your mobile data plan won’t work”

  1. Michael Elling

    After pumping in $7B for new entrants and annually subsidizing rural telephone monopolies ~$15B both our wired broadband (see here and wireless coverage are poor. The lack of a coordinated strategy is mostly to blame, including sharing across multiple users. When commercial, govt, education, utility/smart-grid, media and wireless interests are combined there is PLENTY of demand to support gigabit services (not kilobit) in rural markets. The benefits of broadband are far greater relatively for both the rural base as well as urban transients than investment in urban markets. It’s the old tail wagging the dog.

  2. I suspect this map was generated automatically and no one put any thought to some of the reasons why coverage was poor. I wonder how that maps line up with federal public lands. Nearly 85% of Nevada is owned by the federal government.

    That big splotch on the southwest border of Nevada seems to correspond to Nevada Test and Training Range (which includes “Area 51”) and the Nevada Test Site (nuclear bomb tests). The splotch to the southeast in northwestern Arizona seems to be the Grand Canyon. The splotch in northeastern Arizona looks to be in the Navajo Nation.