Earlier this week the BBC launched a crowdsourcing project to map the true extent of the UK’s 3G network coverage for smartphones.

Working with Ofcom and ITSPA partner Epitro, the public broadcasting giant has created an Android application that monitors the signal a phone recieves – be it 3G, 2G or no signal at all – to build a true picture of the range of coverage across the UK. As of Friday morning, the BBC say there are now 36,000 people (including some in the Gradwell office) taking part in the project.

BBC Technology Correspondent, Rory Cellan-Jones, says that the results could help determined the future developement of connectivity across the country:

“It could tell us, for instance, whether our mobile networks are capable of delivering broadband connectivity in parts of the country where the fixed line service is patchy, whether coverage across cities is consistently good, and whether some operators are supplying a better service than others.”

The app will record phone signal data as it runs in the background when the phone is switched on. Epitiro will work with the BBC to collect the results over the next month.  The aim is to then plot the findings on a map, which will be searchable by postcode. If the project is a success it will provide a map of coverage as a whole and also by network operator. Cellan-Jone continued:

“We hope to able to plot information by operator so that consumers will get a good idea of coverage in their area. The more users we get, the more granular the  data we will be able to plot on the map. Every extra download means another street covered.”

The map will allow mobile data users to see where the best coverage is in their area – and who can provide it. This can be vital for those who want to use internet-based communications such as business VoIP or Gradwell’s award-winning mobile solution.

(Image by dullhunk)


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