New beta mobile coverage checker from Ofcom
Ofcom has launched what it is calling a single-stop shop for mobile coverage, but unless the caution about being under continual development means some serious improvements are on the way it may actually annoy more people than it helps.
The new checker is at www.ofcom.org.uk/mobile-coverage and for the few areas where are well versed in mobile coverage the estimates appear very overly optimistic. There also appear to be some usability issues across various browsers which will hopefully be fixed very quickly. There is a feedback option to help Ofcom improve the information which is based on provider data with Ofcom applying its own metrics to this data to arrive at coverage information for different areas.
As a site that is investing considerable time and effort into mapping fixed line broadband services and was a pioneer in broadband speed testing many years ago and is still innovating in that sphere the fact that Ofcom has launched this new mobile checker with no obvious API access system for third parties to perform wider analysis or develop innovative new visualisation models is disappointing. There is also a much wider question over what might Ofcom be about to do in the fixed line market and how this may skew the market against independent sites like ourselves who do so much more than just like the largest ten providers.