The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

I never hear more complaints about mobile phone shortcomings than I do from users in New York City. I'm sure other high-density population areas, and places with lots of hills and mountains, have just as many problems with dropped calls and lack of reception, but the Big Apple seems to be especially notorious.

In response, the city's Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications invited residents to submit their complaints to them. The result is the Mobile Phone Reception Problem Survey, which maps out connection problems throughout the five boroughs (not surprisingly, downtown Manhattan is the site of the most problems) and by service provider (they pretty much all sucked equally).

The purpose of the survey is to submit the results to the providers, in an effort to get them to build more towers, improve equipment, and anything else they can do. The idea is that a consolidated complaint, coming from city government, will carry more weight than would several individual squawks.

I was just up in New York. I didn't spend any time in the city, though, so I can't say whether reception there was any worse than anywhere else I've been. My phone cut out in the train tunnels, naturally, but there's really nothing to be done about that.