BBC uses crowd-sourcing app to map UK 3G coverage

The BBC is using crowd-sourcing to collect data on the coverage of the UK's 2G and 3G data networks.Coverage measurements can be collected using a custom-built 'UK 3G Survey' app — created by Epitiro — which can be downloaded by anyone with an Android phone, running version 2.

The BBC is using crowd-sourcing to collect data on the coverage of the UK's 2G and 3G data networks.

Coverage measurements can be collected using a custom-built 'UK 3G Survey' app — created by Epitiro — which can be downloaded by anyone with an Android phone, running version 2.1 or higher, the BBC reported on Monday.

"Our coverage app will provide the information consumers need to see if 3G services are available and from which mobile operator," Gavin Johns, chief executive of Epitiro, told the BBC. "Coverage is the number one issue for consumers."

Once complete the results will be collated and displayed on the BBC website on an interactive 'clickable' map.

Ofcom conducted research into mobile broadband speeds in the UK between September and December 2010 and published it in May 2011.

The telecoms watchdog found that "the availability of 2G, 3G or HSPA networks, and the performance delivered, vary significantly even within small geographic areas" in its testing. The report also found that even in areas of good 3G/HSPA coverage there was "some differences between operators in performance delivered".

An Ofcom-commissioned consultant 'not-spots' report from April 2010 found that more transparent coverage information should be available.

"This should be in a standardised format enabling comparison between operator services such that users can make an informed decision about coverage in their area," the report added. "Whilst postcode-based checkers go some way to this, their accuracy is limited to the point at which they have limited value."

However, the BBC noted that the survey will not include collecting speeds of connectivity in specific areas.

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