America's major cellular carriers publish maps showing that virtually the entire state is well-covered, with solid signals and 5MB/s internet speeds, but Vermonters know that this is totally untrue.
Knowing it and proving it are two different things: so Department of Public Service telecommunications infrastructure specialist Corey Chase, packed six cell-phones loaded with custom code developed by a Bulgarian programmer into a state-owned Prius and drove more than 6,000 miles around the state, "ground-truthing what every Vermonter with a cell phone knows: there are many, many places in the state where you simply can't get a signal, not to mention the 5 megabits per second data download speeds the carriers were claiming."
Now, armed with data, the state is hoping to get the FCC to spring some of its budget for subsidizing infrastructure improvements. However, the FCC is part of Trump's shutdown, and also run by a colossal asshole who used to be a Verizon exec, so it may be that all of Chase's good work will have to wait for regime change before Vermonters get relief. Only 656 days until the 2020 elections, folks!
Vermont Public Radio has a handy-dandy interactive map of the real coverage Vermonters can expect from the carriers.
The FCC uses those maps to determine what areas of the country qualify for grants to boost service to underserved areas. And by the cell companies' claims, most of Vermont gets a decent signal from at least one of the six providers.
"The FCC has recognized this issue, and they've now opened an investigation into those maps that were submitted," said Purvis.
The state challenged the carriers' maps following a rigorous procedure for data collection outlined by the FCC. That's what had Chase driving around with the six cell phones, each capable of sophisticated download speed tests every 20 seconds.
The result was 187,506 download speed test results at locations about 360 meters apart along all of the major roads in the state.
State Official Went Roaming Around Vermont To Test Cell Coverage Claims [John Dillon/VPR]