Beta

Slashdot: News for Nerds

×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

FCC Maps the 3G Wasteland Of the Western US

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the desires-infinite-resources-scarce dept.

Wireless Networking 173

alphadogg writes "The Federal Communications Commission has released a map showing which counties across the U.S. lacked coverage from either 3G or 4G networks and found that wide swaths of the western half of the country were 3G wastelands, particularly in mountainous states such as Idaho and Nevada. This isn't particularly surprising since it's much more difficult for carriers to afford building out mobile data networks in sparsely populated mountainous regions, but it does underscore how large stretches of the United States lack access to mobile data services that people in the Northeast, South and Midwest now take for granted."

cancel ×

173 comments

If you compare maps.... (3, Interesting)

Moryath (553296) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000815)

from 10 years ago, the same areas look like wastelands for net access in general.

Telecommunications companies simply don't want to build out. Either the government makes them do it, or they drag their feet on it. The more they drag their feet, the more isolated the communities out there become. Some communities out there - like the FLDS compounds - actually thrive on that level of isolation.

It's not a matter of carriers not being able to "afford" building out - previous telecommunications acts requiring them to build out telephone infrastructure proved that not to be the case. They just don't "want" to.

"Free Market" at work, apparently. It doesn't fix shit.

Re:If you compare maps.... (5, Insightful)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000909)

It is the free market at work. Not enough people out there to justify building the infrastructure. Less people, less money.

But should we classify 3G or 4G service as a utility? That's the real question.

Re:If you compare maps.... (5, Insightful)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001025)

It is the free market at work. Not enough people out there to justify building the infrastructure. Less people, less money.

There might not be enough people to justify it for the profit motives of those companies, but those motives are by nature selfish and don't give a damn about the larger socioeconomic picture. What might those few people be able to contribute to society if they actually enjoyed the same connectedness as their urban comrades?

Like the GP said, the free market has tunnel vision and doesn't fix shit.

Re:If you compare maps.... (5, Insightful)

Dave Emami (237460) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001803)

It is the free market at work. Not enough people out there to justify building the infrastructure. Less people, less money.

There might not be enough people to justify it for the profit motives of those companies, but those motives are by nature selfish and don't give a damn about the larger socioeconomic picture. What might those few people be able to contribute to society if they actually enjoyed the same connectedness as their urban comrades?

And how much money might be sunk into providing higher-capacity connectivity to those people, only to find that that they don't contribute anything, tovarisch?

Like the GP said, the free market has tunnel vision and doesn't fix shit.

Rather, it doesn't make the decisions you want it to make. The people living there choose to do so, knowing the various trade-offs that come with that. They have the pluses of better air quality and less noise, and the minuses of crappy connectivity and more-expensive groceries. I'm sure pizza delivery service sucks out there, too. Going to force Dominos to open stores out in those parts of Nevada where population density drops below half a person per square mile?

Re:If you compare maps.... (-1, Flamebait)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002103)

Of course. Because Internet Connectivity is the same thing has having a Domino's store nearby.

You are, of course, right when you say that the market doesn't make the decision I want it to make. Duh. It makes the decisions that the companies who make up the market want to make. Which, in turn, are predicated on the needs and desires of customers in said market.

Now that we have the Captain Obvious commentary out of the way, why don't we focus on the actual problem? Namely, that Internet connectivity these days is a lot more like electricity and roads: a fundamental infrastructure whose cost is far outweighed by the network effect it promotes. At that point, the question of ROI trumps all, and arguing that the market knows best is a ridiculously short-sighted answer.

Finally, your argument that people choose to live there means they ought to just suck it up... even ignoring the incredible amount of Not-My-Problem attitude that this displays, it also ignores the fact that moving has significant costs attached to it: emotional costs of rebuilding your social life, monetary costs of actually moving, and even the requirement of actually finding and having a job in the new area before moving. Those are all real costs that are easy to quantify for someone who is pondering moving.

Then again, I'm pretty sure you're also one of the people who thinks that not paying for health insurance is a choice, and that people without health insurance should just suck it up and die quickly. It's really the same attitude.

Re:If you compare maps.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39002261)

Like the GP said, the free market has tunnel vision and doesn't fix shit.

Rather, it doesn't make the decisions you want it to make.

No, the free market doesn't make any decisions and doesn't fix any problems other than allocation of resources. It doesn't even do that well, unless you're willing to let people starve to death. That's been known, and demonstrated, since the 1850s (read Polanyi), but it turns out that most humans have too much empathy to eat their stew happily while their neighbor starves. Most of us have, somewhere, the notion that we would like for the team, tribe, or country to be better, and the free market just doesn't contain that goal in any sense.

I think a lot of people forget that the whole economic theory of free markets is based on the idea of making people pay so much for every good or service that, for one penny more, they would do without. The free market demands that you never be happy when you buy anything - if you're happy, then the seller could have asked a higher price. Misery is the natural state of people in a free market.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002421)

Yes because you should have to choose either a healthy environment or being cut off from civilisation and excluded from every modern innovation.

Re:If you compare maps.... (4, Insightful)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001843)

What might those few people be able to contribute to society if they actually enjoyed the same connectedness as their urban comrades?

What might our urban comrades contribute to society if they got off the damned internet once and a while?

Re:If you compare maps.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001911)

Nothing, because they'd spend it all in bars and nightclubs instead of Facebook and MMOs.

Re:If you compare maps.... (2)

suprcvic (684521) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001863)

Corporate obligations are to their shareholders, not society. Sure we don't want them harming society, but if they're not harming society then they should have no concern for the "socioeconomic picture." If you care so much about it, invest in a company that does give a damn and quitcherbitchin. All that aside, if the people who don't have adequate access want to contribute something bad enough, they'll find a way. It's not anybodies responsibility but their own to get it done.

Re:If you compare maps.... (3)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002131)

Like the GP said, the free market has tunnel vision and doesn't fix shit.

Your concern is wasted on the people who actually choose to live in those places. Those who really care so much about how connected they are to the rest of the world can just as easily choose to relocate nearer to a city. The rest will continue to live happy lives as they always have. The only ones who think these people's lack of fast internet or mobile data is such a travesty are people like you who already have a fast connection and think that everyone else should want the same thing.

But don't worry. Our brilliant politicians in Washington agree with you, so they will spend millions of taxpayer dollars in order to bring 3G speeds to people that couldn't care less. Really smart. The only tunnel vision is that of those who stubbornly refuse to acknowledge that the free market is responsible for much of the good that they take for granted every day.

Re:If you compare maps.... (3, Insightful)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001743)

People always talk about the free market, but one thing they miss is that the free market requires rational actors. Expanding the companies' infrastructures may or may not be rational, but this depends on whether the rational acting consumers demand and will pay for it if they do.

Generally, we as consumers put up with waaay too much shit, and continue to buy products anyway, allowing the companies to whatever they want.

It seems to me like having nationwide 4G coverage would be a HUGE selling point for a telco, even in sparsely populated areas (we're everywhere, even while you're sleeping in the woods!!!), but they know they don't have to until forced.

Also, as a former telco employee, classifying a service as a utility should not be done lightly. The portion of your bill that goes to taxes on utilities are fucking nuts (worse than what you see) and while it's harder to price gouge in the short run, there's a reason a land line costs $60 after taxes. Also, the intent of guidelines can be skirted pretty easily, which is why calling customer service results in a sales pitch, and why unless you specifically ask for a "1FR line" you get the package deal with long distance and call waiting blah blah.

Re:If you compare maps.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001993)

It is the free market at work. Not enough people out there to justify building the infrastructure. Less people, less money.

But should we classify 3G or 4G service as a utility? That's the real question.

The same thing could have been asked in giving these areas telephone or electrical service when they were brand new.

By the governments of the day in the early 20th century saw how people's' lives could be improved—especially with electricity in farms—and granted regulated monopolies for these utilities so that these technologies could be rolled everywhere. Urbanites paid a little more to subsidize the rural folks, but the ridiculous gains in farm productivity, and the resulting abundance and cheapness of food, probably more than made up for it.

Technology has to be present and readily available to be transformative IMHO.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

MBCook (132727) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002151)

I don't know. There are parts of Kansas where the little spots cover a dozen people. There are parts of other states where the spots cover a few hundred.

The spot in north east AZ covers over 30k people. Surely there would be some ROI there.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002249)

But watch how fast the carriers would start bribing state legislators if any of those unserved area's decided to build their own wireless system...

Re:If you compare maps.... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39000913)

"Free Market" at work, apparently. It doesn't fix shit.

You're assuming something's broken.

The badlands and ranges and ranches and deserts and endless waves of what North-easterners call flyover country have gotten along without cell phones for centuries, and they've done just fine. Urbanites need their cell phones; ranch-hands don't. Bringing multiplayer Angry Birds to the back woods of Idaho is not profitable because it doesn't fill a need. There is no shit to fix here. Move along, lil' doggies.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001371)

Yeah, I definitely can't think of ANY uses for mobile communication devices on a farm or ranch...

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

tomhath (637240) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001685)

They've had radios longer than you've had cell phones

Re:If you compare maps.... (4, Insightful)

Adriax (746043) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001715)

I can!
Instantaneous access to current market prices. Farmers who have this access have reported much better returns on their harvests.
Access to emergency services incase of an accident. Some ranches around here don't have even basic cell access.
Instant access to veterinary, horticultural, ect... resources. "Never seen this bug before, is it good or bad for my crops? If I don't squish now will I have to napalm my field later?"
Sound and image recognition programs. Not many people can tell the different between a crow's mating call and their "Holyshit it's a bear!" call.
Maps.
Repair resources. Not everyone knows their quad bolt by bolt, knowing your kawasaki has a loose clutch linkage can save a lot of walking.
Entertainment. Not all cowboys find the great outdoors so incredibly breathtaking that they never get bored, and a horse can navigate by itself better than any californian driver.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001915)

Yeah, I definitely can't think of ANY uses for mobile communication devices on a farm or ranch...

The article doesn't say they don't have access to mobile communications.

It says they don't have 3G or 4G.
Many of these same areas have EDGE or GPRS, for Data and can make voice calls.

Much of this are is wilderness. No power. No backhaul. And nobody but campers and hunters out there.
Try a little Google Earth some time and find out just how empty these areas are.

Re:If you compare maps.... (2)

BurfCurse (937117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001525)

Why do people still think that those who work in agriculture don't have the same needs and wants that everyone else in America does?

Why stop to mobile broadband? (1, Insightful)

danbob999 (2490674) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001699)

Why stop to mobile broadband? Why not movie theaters or professional sport teams? Each village should deserve one. Does who work in agriculture might want to enjoy these activities too.
Living in the country has some advantages. Fresh air, more space, nature. It also has shortcomings like not being the first to get new cellular technologies deployed.

Re:Why stop to mobile broadband? (0)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002135)

Are you the same moron who argued that the Internet is the same as having a Domino's close by? Let's turn the argument around: why should the fly-over states have roads, hospitals, a functioning sewage system or access to the telephone? Do they really need to have a post office within 100 miles of the town of Podunck, Nowhere?

As someone else said: taxes buy you civilization. If you don't enjoy the various things that taxes buy you, go live on island and build out your own superpower. After all, it's just as easy as it is in Civ 5.

Because they watch too much tv. (1)

novar21 (1694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001713)

They don't relize that the fields are not plowed by mule or oxen anymore. They would be stunned to see the tech in the harvesters and tractors these days. GPS, radios, air conditioning. Heck, thats just the equipment for the field. Then in the homes usually are computers hooked to the internet to trade futures on what they are growing/raising. Then there are applications to measure livestock growth/health as well as soil analysis systems. The city dwellers think you just throw out some food and water and the animals take care of themselves (no vets/tests needed). Or that there aren't any regulations on them in respect to soil conservation or contamination. Not to mention air quality. Sad, but most just don't have a clue.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

HapSlappy_2222 (1089149) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001763)

Or the west, in general. You'd think that such huge distances between townships would make the individual families living there MORE dependent on communication, not less. May not make as much money as the city-folk, but a market definitely exists. Just depends if it would make more money in the long run than building out the infrastructure (which the state governments, I'm sure, would subsidize anyway).

Re:If you compare maps.... (2)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001769)

Don't know. I know some farmers that would make a hell of a lot more use in their job with more data and connectivity than most people do in their entire lives.
The uses are apparently more than can be summed up in a 300 page article.

And it's not just farmers that don't live in the cities. I know of a lot of towns and small cities that have connectivity that harkens back to the 1930s or 40s, except they don't have human switchboard operators or crank phones.

It's already been shown that when the government gives the corporations tax breaks or incentives, and even grants, for the purpose of expanding the infrastructure, the corporations do everything in their power to reap the benefits and turn it into cash bonuses as they possibly can without actually doing what was intended or agreed upon. Then as deadlines approach, they whine about there being enough time and not enough money in their attempts to get a new deadline and more money for a job they don't intend to do unless forced to. Not to sound like I'm wearing a tin hat or anything, but they've done it before, and they'll do it again.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001889)

> Urbanites need their cell phones

Yeah, like they need a bad rash. Are you fucking kidding me?

I say *nobody* really needs cell phones.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

morari (1080535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001969)

You city folk have gotten along without cell phones for centuries as well... you did just fine.

Asshole.

Re:If you compare maps.... (2)

toejam13 (958243) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002035)

You're assuming something's broken.

Farmers and ranchers in remote areas have been using portable VHF radios for communications for a number of decades now. Last I checked, such radios were still available and offered superior reception and battery life when compared to UHF cellular phones.

Furthermore, the dead zones in the western US states and Canadian provinces aren't solely the fault of private telecommunications companies. The last I checked, neither government has allocated a range in the lower UHF or upper VHF bands for cellular communication. Everything is in the middle to upper UHF band (the lowest we go is 700MHz). Recall that for any given power level, range decreases as frequency increases.

This is in contrast to Nordic and eastern Europe, much of Latin America, Africa and Asia that has a range around 450MHz for GSM and CDMA cellular communication. In the US, that range is reserved for GMRS and FRS. If the federal government reallocated that range for mobile cellular communication, the costs to cover lightly populated areas would go down sharply. The free market would hotly fight for those bands as it would make rural coverage cheaper to deploy.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

thetoadwarrior (1268702) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002431)

You need a cell phone in a densely populated city with phones on every corner yet the guy that's miles away from anyone else or a phone doesn't need a cell phone? That makes complete sense.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

dwillden (521345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000925)

Though 10 years ago the cell coverage for basic phone service was much better. Back in the days of analog you had to hunt a lot harder to find areas without coverage. There were still plenty of them but not nearly as many.

Also I question the validity of the map. I know some of the areas of Utah where they claim solid coverage exists, it certainly doesn't have it. Once you get out of town or off the main transit routes (I-15, I-80, I-70, I-84, and Hwys 89 and 40) coverage becomes much more intermittent to non-existent.

Re:If you compare maps.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001213)

I also question the map. It shows the area where I live as completely covered, yet I can go to the older area of downtown and have no signal at all.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

msheekhah (903443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001421)

They refer to counties... the counties have coverage... areas in the counties might not

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002015)

The map shows 3G and 4G DATA.
Many areas that appear totally devoid of coverage still have voice coverage, and slower Edge and GPRS for data.

I drive these areas often, and the number of places the phone drops to "No Signal" is really pretty small.
The areas where you can't even make a voice call are usually canyons.

Bear in mind where this data comes from. The maps are those areas that are going to eventually be built out
with the Federal Universal Service Charge. Thats the $5 per line that appears on your bill.

Since the cell companies have no customers here, and since virtually nobody even drives thru these area,
there is no funding for building towers, backhaul, and relays. In many areas there isn't even power
withing 50 miles.

So think long and hard about just how much you want to whine about this situation, because its
coming directly out of YOUR pocket. Nobody lives there to pay the bills.

Re:If you compare maps.... (4, Interesting)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000955)

I was just wondering why the FCC has to subsidize these a-holes that are using public spectrum free of charge when they are turning multi-billion dollar profits. Maybe the FCC should just say "build it by this time next year or hand over your spectrum rights to someone who will"

Re:If you compare maps.... (2)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001299)

The billions of dollars paid in frequency licenses by these companies insinuate that they are most certainly not using the public spectrum free of charge.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001359)

As an example to my point, the 2008 spectrum auctions raised nearly $20Billion for the US Treasury - definitely not getting the public spectrum for free...

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39002285)

...they are most certainly not using the public spectrum free of charge.

But the thing is, they're not using their licensed chunk of the public spectrum in places where they deem the profit margin too small. That, and competitors have no way to offer the service for these places because of the spectrum shortage and the astronomical barrier to entry.

It is public spectrum, which to me means everyone should have access to it -- or at least the potential for access. Also, I always saw the spectrum auction as a sort of social contract with a company: we (the people) give you (the company) this advantage in exchange for a) cash so we can finance the regulatory bodies and b) a guarantee that you will actually use this extremely limited and incredibly useful resource to its fullest extent.

The US's Internet / phone coverage is a complete joke on the global stage. We pay much more for much less. I'm of the mindset that we've let the telcos get too big again, and the regulation-hammer needs to hit them HARD.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

msheekhah (903443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001433)

Exactly. The FCC basically owns the waves that it's letting telecom use. They don't have to let them use that spectrum.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1, Informative)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002081)

Exactly. The FCC basically owns the waves that it's letting telecom use. They don't have to let them use that spectrum.

Fine. Lets take your position. Yank those licenses.

Now what?
Find someone else who has the millions to buy the spectrum, the billions to build a network. Wait 10 years while the build it.
Wait 3 years for them to go broke because NOBODY LIVES THERE!!!
Then what? What have you accomplished?

The map is for 3G and 4G.

Ya know, you can still make phone calls in most of those areas. Probably your porn comes in a little slower over EDGE,
and you can probably finish by hand faster than you will get it over GPRS, but there is still phone sex on your camping
trip in the vast majority of those ares.

Huge swaths of Nevada are all black on the map. You can still make calls. A few places the road runs thru valleys and
your phone says Emergency Calls Only. The State of Nevada has 911 towers out there.

Re:If you compare maps.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39000967)

A lot of these areas are very desolate and don't need service like that. When I go in the mountains of CO there are tons of areas that don't even have voice coverage, I'd much rather have them work on that then 3G.

Re:If you compare maps.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001409)

"Free Market" at work, apparently. It doesn't fix shit.

What part of the "market" do you purport is "free"?

And you don't live in a "capitalist" country, either.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001609)

If you compare maps from 10 years ago, the same areas look like wastelands for net access in general. Telecommunications companies simply don't want to build out.

Well, duh. If you look at those maps and look at population and geographic maps - I wouldn't want to build out in many of the black areas either. Not only is the terrain forbidding, there's just not that many people there to be served.

Re:If you compare maps.... (4, Insightful)

trout007 (975317) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001669)

The benefit of a free market is that it does the best job at allocating limited resources. Right now 3G and 4G technology is expensive to implement. So it makes sense that it would be put to first use in a place where there is the fastest payback. All during the roll out of these technologies the prices become better known and cheaper. That allows the technology to spread. Think of it this way. Part of your carrier bill helps to pay for all of those towers you pass as you go about your daily life. The more people using that tower the cheaper it is to use it. Now if you live somewhere so remote that you and 5 families you know are the only ones using the tower you would either have to pay more for modern technology or wait until the tech gets cheaper. This is a perfect example of a free market working to allocate limited resources.

Re:If you compare maps.... (1)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001941)

from 10 years ago, the same areas look like wastelands for net access in general.

Telecommunications companies simply don't want to build out.

Clue Bat:

Nobody lives in the black areas. Try a little google earth some day.

Its pretty damned hard to get a chipmunk to pay a cell bill.

Where's the map? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39000849)

The article did not appear to have said map, nor a link to it.

Re:Where's the map? (4, Informative)

owenferguson (521762) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000903)

The map is there, inline half way through the article, but it's stuck in a banner-ad sized box like 3/4" thick and across the whole page.

Direct Map Link (5, Informative)

Twintop (579924) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000865)

Re:Direct Map Link (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001477)

Ugly colors too. :(

Re:Direct Map Link (1)

DigiShaman (671371) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001741)

Thanks. The resolution still sucks though.

If I sound bitter about it, it's because I am. Some places east and south-east have shitty cell reception where the refineries are at. Quite a few inspectors will use aircards near the area. VPN links constantly go down and you never know when Verizon will fuck up passing of GRE traffic. Dropped calls is quite common. Maybe there's just too much metal in the area obstructing the signal. Having a cell booster (repeater) in the area would be nice if at all possible.

Re:Direct Map Link (1)

RoboRay (735839) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002141)

THANK you.

I was wondering why TFA had linked a map of central Africa...

...and nothing of value was lost (-1, Troll)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000869)

...western half of the country were 3G wastelands, particularly in mountainous states such as Idaho and Nevada.

Yes, the economic loss to the nation's economy has been estimated to be in the tens of dollars as people who live in more hospitable areas refuse to subsidize infrastructure for those who lack the brains to move out of unfarmable land with no source of water for hundreds of miles.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (1)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000921)

Since this to obvious flamebait I'll keep my response short. The Western portion of the united states supplies more agricultural goods to the market than the rest of the country. Are you trying to say that Kansas is more habitable than Oregon?

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (1)

bragr (1612015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000947)

You have obviously never been to Utah of Nevada. They are waste lands, quite literally.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (0)

Reverand Dave (1959652) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000993)

Most of us in the west don't count Utah among our ranks. It's not like Iowa or Ohio or Wisconsin are so great though.

As a general rule, the easier it is to draw a state the harder it is to live there. -- Demetri Martin.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001113)

Having traveled through many of those areas in Wisconsin and upper Michigan -- a lot of those dark areas don't have landline access, either (after 100 years of Ma Bell monopoly and active governmental buildout). Much of that land is basically uninhabited, except for hunting season.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (2)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001065)

I've been to New York City. That's the worst wasteland I've ever seen. But then I've never been to LA.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (1)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001085)

I remember thinking (with some glee), flying over the area east of Lake Powell, that you could dump the entire population of New York City out there, and ... nobody would ever hear from them again! :D

Some folks, including me, like being 60 miles from the nearest quick-mart. I live in New England now (for a little while more), but it's nice not having all this human commotion around. Out in the desert, after a few days you start to realize how little humanity means in the grand scheme of things.

One interesting item - those rocks out in the desert, where it hasn't rained in months or years - carve into them an eighth of an inch (2 mm) and you will find living organisms. I forget if they are bacteria or algae but I think algae is right.

As my neighbors used to say back in 1999, "So, what will the cattle farmers do when Y2K hits? Probably go out and feed the cows, like the day before."

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (1)

Jason Earl (1894) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001223)

I live in Utah, and when I go to the mountains, I *expect* my cell phone to stop working. Heck, I count on it.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001047)

If you look at the map, it's the mountainous regions that don't have 3G, for good reason. Agricultural regions are well covered.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (1)

the linux geek (799780) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001347)

I live in a medium-sized Kansas city, and 3G is almost unobtainable. No T-mobile presence (as far as I can tell), no AT&T 3G, poor Verizon and Sprint. The only carrier with solid infrastructure here is US Cellular. (I'm on Sprint, and it's frequently an exercise in patience.)

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001845)

I live in a medium-sized Kansas city, and 3G is almost unobtainable. No T-mobile presence (as far as I can tell), no AT&T 3G, poor Verizon and Sprint. The only carrier with solid infrastructure here is US Cellular. (I'm on Sprint, and it's frequently an exercise in patience.)

As a South West Kansas City Resident, I'd like to know which wasteland you happen to be in. I have friends with phones on all the major carriers, and I myself am on Sprint. No complaints here. However, I will agree that 4G coverage outside of Wyandotte, Johnson, Jackson counties is pretty non-existant.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001135)

So you're discounting any possible value of land other than farming? You do know that there are a wide variety of natural resources that humans exploit and harvest, right? I mean, just because you don't grow corn in a copper mine doesn't mean that there's no value in it. And who says there's no water in the mountains of Idaho and Nevada? I guess all the people up there are just perched on the edges of bare rocks in the middle of a desert?

Your comments aren't usually this delusional. I guess you're having a recreational troll in celebration of Friday?

Gee... (3, Insightful)

cirby (2599) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000879)

Large areas where there's no advanced communications networks.

Of course, nobody really LIVES in most of those huge data voids, which is why nobody puts billions of dollars into building cell towers in those areas, but...

Re:Gee... (1)

zuzulo (136299) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001021)

Absolutely. Which is why this visualization is not useful. Now if they mapped the intersection of population density and cell coverage, that would be interesting. ;-)

Re:Gee... (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001159)

Yes. That would actually show useful data. I don't think people living out in the boonies expect or in many cases even want 3G coverage. On the other hand I watch all the droid and iphone users where I work drearily waiting while the supposed verizon and at&t broadband achieves slightly better than dialup speeds.

Re:Gee... (2)

garyebickford (222422) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001157)

I used to live in central Oregon, back in the day when cell phones were bricks. We were up riding horses in the Cascade Mountains, and one of our party fell and might have a back problem, so I rode back to our vehicle and called 911. The parking lot was down in a canyon, so I had to stand on top of the car to get a signal. I did get connected - to a 911 center 100 miles away, skipping over the nearest one in Bend (only 30 miles away)! They were a little confused for a while, but it all worked out with a three-step patch to the nearest EMT folks. Somehow I doubt that would work any more - today's phones have about 1/20 the transmit power as the old analog phones. But in that area there are many more towers, and reception up in the mountains is pretty good.

Re:Gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001295)

Somehow I doubt that would work any more - today's phones have about 1/20 the transmit power as the old analog phones.

CDMA modulation allows you to use much more of the channel capacity than analog modulations. The tiny antennas should have a more significant effect than the change in power.

Re:Gee... (5, Informative)

rhysweatherley (193588) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001333)

"Of course, nobody really LIVES in most of those huge data voids, ..."

Yes, because farmers don't need to call 911 for help in an emergency, call the local food co-op to check this week's prices, order new seed from a supplier's web site, or e-mail the mechanic to get an ETA as to when the tractor will be fixed. And we certainly don't want the farmer's kids getting a decent education via distance learning web sites, or talking to their friends in nearby cities.

Putting cell towers in those areas is not profitable, but it is necessary. I say this as an Australian - for over a decade the commercial carriers did squat to wire up the country-side. The Australian government had to create its own carrier from scratch because the free market just didn't care about the 95% of the country where "nobody really lives there". Oh, except for the people who do.

Re:Gee... (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001701)

The article doesn't say cellular voice coverage isn't available there - it says cellular data coverage isn't there. The aren't the same thing, not even close. Not to mention, the lack of cellular data coverage isn't the same thing as lack of internet access.

Re:Gee... (2)

DarkMagician07 (686278) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002409)

The problem with that is where I am at, there's typically no voice coverage, either. There are huge areas in rural Western, WA that you can't get a cell signal because there's hills and mountains between you and any towers. What's even more funny is that when I'm at home, I get service from one tower that is 40 miles away. If the power goes out, there's no other tower nearby to take the calls, and there's no plan for any of the telco's to put one in. Heck, the one tower that feeds 4 towns (one having a population of 4 - 5000) is typically down for a total of about a month out of the year. Instead of putting a little money into upgrading it and it's capacity, they simply put money into fixing an EDGE tower, where a 3G or LTE tower would make more sense.

The problem isn't that they can't upgrade the tower, it's that they don't want to because the other company that uses their bands would also reap the benefits of the newer tower and access due to sharing agreements. For them, keeping us on limited voice + EDGE is the best way to go, I guess.

Re:Gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39002443)

But it doesn't say that either -- it says no 3G or better data coverage. In fact, both AT&T and T-mobile offer GPRS (or EDGE) everywhere there's a GSM signal (T-mo, at least, is entirely upgraded to EDGE, dunno about AT&T)

Re:Gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39002185)

Y'know, in the US, they do have cellphone service there with data, dialup, and if they want to pay for it, high speed satellite broadband data.

Emails contacting the tractor mechanic? Please. For the price of a combine tractor, they should be throwing in a laptop and satphone so the thing streams youtube cat videos while the farmer accidentally runs over his children.

Re:Gee... (1)

Jaktar (975138) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001355)

I live on the east coast. I have neither 3G nor 4G. I also do not have high speed internet access. It's not like people don't live here either.

Where I live, people aren't even as spread out as they are over the western wastelands.

Re:Gee... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39001589)

I'm from Idaho, and most of the area in Idaho that is the dead zone is in designated wilderness areas or areas with very low population. Although, we did only get 3G about a year back - things do come to us much more slowly than large metro areas.

Some days... (1)

bigredradio (631970) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000889)

No 3G access? Some days that would seem like heaven instead of a wasteland. I suggest we section it off and make a campground.

Re:Some days... (1)

DaveAtFraud (460127) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001161)

I was going to post, "It's not a bug. It's a feature" but replying to your post will do.

I ended up vacationing in Silverton Colorado in mid-September 2001. The B&B we stayed in had no TV and only one phone and it was at the foot of the stairs with guest room all on the second floor. Even better, Silverton had (and I think continues to have) absolutely no cell phone service. The town has even acted to PREVENT carriers from installing cell towers.

It's an absolutly fantastic place to really get away from it all and be almost impossible to reach short of someone sending a courrier. Great hiking in the summer and awesome skiing in the winter.

Cheers,
Dave

Re:Some days... (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001277)

You can run, but you can't hide.

Satellite phones still work.

Re:Some days... (1)

slinches (1540051) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001683)

I suggest we section it off and make a campground.

They already did. A lot of the places that have no coverage are park land or wilderness areas.

No people = no cellphones (3)

bragr (1612015) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000923)

Seriously, have you ever been to those places that are all in black? The population density is less than 1 person per square mile in a lot of them. A lot less in most places. Large portions of Nevada have population densities of 0 people per square mile. There is just no reason to build towers in the middle of no where.

Re:No people = no cellphones (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001327)

What about Moose?

Look at Alaska - all those blank spots. All those poor Mooses without 3G coverage. How are they ever going to get to watch Northern Exposure reruns? While it's common to denigrate them as just another ungulate, Moose are smarter than the average American voter, smell better than the average American voter and certainly are better behaved.

Where's the love?

Re:No people = no cellphones (1)

dkf (304284) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002457)

While it's common to denigrate them as just another ungulate, Moose are smarter than the average American voter, smell better than the average American voter and certainly are better behaved.

The average tree stump can outwit a moose. While I remain cynical about my fellow men, I really think that moose are still more stupid than that.

What's more, moose don't pay taxes or vote and they taste delicious.

not always great in the Northeast (1)

hb253 (764272) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000927)

I live in the Northeast (NJ) and coverage at my house is pitiful. I can't imagine what it's like in more remote areas.

The thing that isn't mentioned much is that even in areas with good signal, the sound quality of current digital cellular systems stinks. Even back in the 90's, analog cellular had WAY better sound quality.

Relief map (1)

belthize (990217) | more than 2 years ago | (#39000943)

I'm willing to bet a relief map that just showed less than and greater than 7000 feet elevation would very closely match the map.

I live in one of the areas that is surrounded by black and sure enough it's a river valley. No great mystery, putting wireless in unpopulated mountainous terrain is not worth the effort.

Spongge (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39000965)

locating #GNAAG,

Frist Ps0T from Envada (4, Funny)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001001)

Sorry, took a while to get a signal.

So no coverage in mountains or the desert? (1)

jeffeb3 (1036434) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001083)

That's OK with me. When I go mountain camping, I don't want to get a phone call. There is a lot of BLM, National Forrest, and regional parks in that part of the US too. It's a lot of forest/mountains/desert if you ask me. I live in Denver, which has very good 3G/4G coverage.

Bad and Good (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001101)

There are trade offs wherever you live. People living out in the back end of Utah get to avoid the plague of crime and pollution of the populated areas and they miss out on facebook.

Tesla to the rescue! (2)

macraig (621737) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001107)

What we need is one gigantic Tesla coil the size of Mons Olympus smack in the middle of the country. We can use it to beam wireless power to every phone and small gadget in the country and get rid of them nasty batteries and use the power feed as a carrier signal for everything else. (/sarcasm)

WLW did this in 1934-1939 Re:Tesla to the rescue! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39002375)

WLW broadcast at 500 KW from Cincinnati, Ohio, USA from 1934 to 1939. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WLW [wikipedia.org] for details.

"internet is a right" (1)

p51d007 (656414) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001309)

I can just see it now...the government will then come out and say that 3g or whatever "is a right", which means the only agency that can do it, will be the government. Explain to me how a private company is to be PROFITABLE (oh that ugly word...profit), if they are to build out an expensive thing like towers, cabinets etc, in an area WITH FEW PEOPLE. I guess we'll be giving wolves & bears free access next. There are a lot of areas that have few people. If you were to overlay this map, with a population density map, odds are they would almost line up. Tell the government to go F**k off!

Form a community wireless... (1)

charlieo88 (658362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001501)

Form a community wireless initiative and the telcos will be in there to squash any such thing before you can say, "Can you hear me now?"

No Cell Service Here (1)

swbirding (2564493) | more than 2 years ago | (#39001563)

What a joke, there is no cell service - of any type - where I live. On the other hand, I have a daily use package which works just fine when I travel to those areas where there is cell service. Being in constant touch is an affectation which has been exploited by the likes of Verizon and AT&T - how incredibly sad for those people who could use their money for basic safety and welfare.

florida! (1)

bbelt16ag (744938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002209)

Ok can i please gather your attention to the Florida area! There are swaths of area that need coverage!. check out the area around marion county. I know this is horse country and there a a larger perserver in the area, but there are lot of people living up there.. They either must use dialup or satellite. The poorest are the ones who can't afford this and go with out. Celluar can change this! If they roll out high speed in these areas.

Silicon Valley! (1)

k6mfw (1182893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002317)

hey! I hear all this about great coverage in places like Asia and Europe (even former Warsaw Pact countries) but we got crapola coverage in the land that developed this stuff. Google does have free wifi in Mountain View but geez it is slow. Well there is option of getting the iphone kind of thing... SJC airport seems to have great free wifi (it has been very fast when I've been there). There is Starbucks but I don't care for their coffee. I'm not concerned about most rural areas of US, if I go to such places, I leave my computer at home (look up at night, you can see stars. And that big long cloud is not a cloud. It is part of the galaxy our star is located).

No 3G Cowphone? (1)

saccade.com (771661) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002383)

I guess we'll have to wait before the cowphone [dodgecharger.com] can go 3G...

Did they mark the areas where its impossible? (2)

Liquid-Gecka (319494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39002423)

The map does not appear to actually mark the areas of the country where it is completely impossible to setup service. In Idaho, where I grew up, there are huge tracts of government property with restrictions and limitations that make it impossible to have cell service, let alone 3G.

Craters of the Moon is one of the largest exposed lava rock flats in the world. If you go to Google maps and search for "idaho", you will see a huge black spot in the bottom right. The flow is actually much larger than that and its all one big preserve. Its impossible to run underground cables since its all basically solid rock, and running overhead wires is pretty damn challenging as well given the lack of roads.

The Frank Church wilderness area which makes up a large chunk of the middle of the state specifically bans wires and electricity, cell towers, wheels, and pretty much any other modern technology. There is no way it will have 3G coverage any time soon.

Montana has the Bob Marshal wilderness area, Wyoming has Yellowstone, California has Yosemite, etc.

Hell, even the south western part of Idaho is just a big flat desert with virtually no farms, roads, or people. Why should we worry about its 3g coverage?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...