South Carolina Mobile Broadband Performance Study

GIS & Mapping

Mar 18, 2017

This study, and the results of this collection of benchmarking data across much of South Carolina, can be seen as a first step in a larger process of measuring mobile customer experience across varied geographies.  The study answers a number of questions about the differences in access and use of mobile networks on various roads and census areas in South Carolina.  However, these areas represent neither the best, nor likely the worst, of a collective customer experience when it comes to mobile networks in the U.S.  In summary, the data collected are generally indicating the following:

·    Network reliability, when viewed as the ability to connect to a network and transmit or receive mobile data, differs a great deal inside and outside of Census Designated Places (cities and towns).  Successful connection rates and throughput speeds are generally lower outside of city and town boundary limits.

·    Network reliability across road classifications differs a great deal as well.  Connection rates, signal strength and throughput are all lower on roads that are not within primary travel corridors between population centers.

·    Throughput speeds are generally much lower in areas with lower population density.

·    The FCC’s Form 477 data on mobile network availability, while helpful when trying to understand general presence of mobile providers, does not accurately represent customer experience with respect to access and use of networks.  Many areas that are shown as served by mobile providers in the 477 data are either completely unserved or served at speeds below what would be reasonably considered as broadband (4Mbps down).

·    Neither of the FCC’s methods for displaying mobile broadband service areas, the Centroid approach or Actual Area approach, allow users to accurately measure coverage against likely paths of travel.

The full report can be found here: SC Drive Testing Report