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Cellular coverage, instrumentation, and negotiation
We live in Fort Collins, CO and the AT&T cellular coverage is really terrible.

I use a series of self-built web applications to do a wide range of things I think are cool. One is used to track data about restaurants. In some places in-town, I cannot get cellular data, the service is not there.

At Sam’s Club, I frequently wander away from my wife and after a while I am lost. Historically, I call her and I find where to go to get back together. In the Sam’s Club at Fort Collins, the cellular telephone service does not work consistently.

Recently I called AT&T to discuss this issue. I asked why I pay the full price for cellular service but it only works half of the time. I figure the service cost should be half price if it is a half service. The conversation turned to “We need to call a special group when the phone does not work. I asked how it would be possible for me to place such a call when the cellular service does not work. There was some silence.

I have an idea, and I want to share this because an idea in the mind of just a few people is not as powerful as an idea in the minds of many people.

Suppose we had an app that gathered data about my cellular connection, stored it locally, and forwarded it to a central web service whenever the data does work.

Just imagine, 100,000 instruments could gather data for AT&T (and the other providers) and could provide very clear, statistically valid data about where, when, and how well the service worked. AT&T could focus cell tower work in places where it would do the most good.

More interestingly, 100,000 people could be in a position to call AT&T and demand a monthly service cost that was no more than the efficacy of the service.

With valid data, I have negotiated many things with Cellular, Health Insurance and other companies. It is possible, but we need the data.

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