Obligatory Birthday Post

30 November, 2008 at 6:21 pm (benjamin, new hampshire)

It’s November 30th. Yay me, and all that.

Okay, now that’s out of the way, let’s talk about AT&T. Upon purchasing the iPhone this summer, I was told by a sales representative (consider the source and caveat emptor and all that) that AT&T would have extended its 3G network into southern New Hampshire by November.

I’m not saying that this was a selling point for me, as I was already going to pony up for the damn thing, but it was a nice bonus. All reports about how much using the 3G network burns up the iPhone’s already limited battery, while I was looking forward to being able to do a little web-browsing whilst in remote and portable locations, I was not looking forward to loading tiny, tiny images at dial-up modem speeds. So the future existence of 3G, with all its drawbacks, was a definite hatch mark in the plus column.

Billboard: 'New England is AT&T CountryWell, November is officially over, and there’s not so much of a sniff of 3G in NH according to my antenna. Peter reports that if he’s standing in a particular corner of one of his flatmate’s bedrooms, he can sometimes get 3G… but basically the evidence is not there. So I turned to the official AT&T portion of the world-wide web to see what they had to say about their services in my little corner of the world. A billboard adjacent to I-93 outside of Boston trumpets that “New England is AT&T Country“, a marvelously funny little bit of trumpeting considering that it was only recently that iPhones were officially available in Vermont considering that there was absolutely no AT&T wireless coverage available in the hidden valleys of the Green Mountain State.

Dan Frommer posted a well-Dugg map of AT&T coverage areas dated July of 2008, and XTI9.com had an additional, more popular map dated October of that same year. But AT&T has an online map of their own, that allows you to search down to street level how good the coverage is in your area.

AT&T Service Map for Concord, NH

The darker the orange, the better the reception. The blue on the right-hand map indicates 3G availability. And it’s an astounding piece of fiction. There is no 3G in Concord that I can find, and certainly a big swamp of it surrounding my apartment. And I’m bloody lucky to get three bars anywhere in my building, and to see that lovely deep orange right on top of my thumbtack indicating the “best” coverage is eye-rollingly inaccurate. The previous links to the Digg maps may be out of date, but they are more consistent with my experience on the ground, holding my phone towards the sky, squinting and hoping for a signal from above. Maybe some day the reality will match AT&T’s claims, maybe… Perhaps by next November 30.

EDIT: By sometime in mid-to-late December, which is to say, within a couple of weeks of writing the above, I did indeed have 3G in most, if not all of Concord. So the map was just a little ahead of the actual schedule of implementation. Not bad, AT&T… not bad.

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