Mapping the coverage area


For a cell phone company, providing coverage maps online is a no-brainer. After all, there’s no point in wasting resources on prospects who don’t live in your coverage area. Cell providers may even require you to provide a zip/postal code before you can browse for phones and plans, to ensure they have service where you live.

However, I am shocked that other telecommunications firms never adopted this approach. Try going to the site of your favorite phone, DSL, or cable company and check if you can search for service in your zip code. And even if they let you search by zip code or address, there’s rarely a visual map that shows where service is offered. That type of map would be hugely valuable to consumers and businesses who are planning to relocate, and want to find out which providers have service on a city, neighborhood, or even block-by-block basis.

I can attest to the value of more detailed coverage maps. My company’s main office is located on a major street, but we never imagined that there would be vastly more options for Internet access on one side of the road versus the other. If we had access to coverage maps from each provider — or a third-party aggregation site that showed all providers in the area — we might have ended up a few hundred feet to the south, with a considerably lower telco bill.