The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has released its first-ever mobile broadband coverage map. The tool allows you to compare the LTE and voice coverage areas of the country’s four largest carriers, showing where you can expect to see wireless download and upload speeds of at least 5 Mbps and 1 Mbps, respectively.
The data you see on the map is accurate as of May 15th, 2021, and you can use the tool to compare what coverage looks like in your area away from the often misleading and confusing maps offered by AT&T, T-Mobile, US Cellular and Verizon (Engadget’s parent company). The tool is the result of last year’s Broadband DATA Act, which requires the FCC to collect and release robust data comparing different wired, fixed-wireless, satellite and mobile broadband service providers. To compile the map, the FCC collected standardized propagation information from the carriers. It also asked the public to help.
For too long the FCC has not had truly accurate broadband maps. But we’re changing that. Starting right here and now. This is the first-of-its-kind wireless coverage map the agency has produced. And we’re just getting started. More to come.https://t.co/FhgddIgRfh
“This map provides a preview of how the mobile data the FCC will collect under the standards set by the Broadband DATA Act will look when mapped,” the agency said. “Never before have maps been created using these new, standardized mobile data specifications, which will improve the uniformity and consistency of broadband availability data collected by the FCC.”
The map isn’t perfect. For example, you can’t see the extent of each carrier’s current 5G buildouts. But it’s hard to overstate just how much of an improvement this new tool is over what the FCC offered previously. To put things into context. In 2019, Microsoft estimated that 163 million Americans couldn’t access the internet at or above broadband speeds. Meanwhile, the FCC put that number closer to 25 million.
That discrepancy was the direct result of how the FCC compiled its data at the time. It relied on Form 477 filings from the service providers, which could include errors and exaggerations. FCC acting chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel says the new mobile broadband map is just the start of what the agency has planned on that front.
Over the past year, the pandemic made working remotely commonplace and now, people are realizing they can do that from a more scenic place. That’s exactly why Airbnb just released a Wi-Fi speed test tool that allows hosts to verify and list their Wi-Fi speeds so guests can see before booking.
Whether you’re a digital nomad, a roadschooler, or just looking for a way to stream some games or connect with your coworkers over a video call while on vacation, the one thing that could make that difficult is a crappy Wi-Fi connection. While Airbnb hosts are already free to list their Wi-Fi speeds, it’s never been a standardized metric across the app and there was no way to tell if a host was being honest or not.
The feature is built right into the Airbnb app, under the “Amenities” section for host accounts, and uses M-Lab’s open-source software to measure Wi-Fi speeds. The simple tool makes quick work of testing and listing the information, even for those who aren’t tech-savvy, and ensures fair and equal testing for all users. The end result? A listing that’s (hopefully) more attractive to potential Guests thanks to verified Wi-Fi speeds.
Airbnb’s support document includes a chart (seen above) designed to help you better understand your Wi-Fi speed test result. The chart states that 7Mbps is “snappy” and enough for guests to make a video call or stream a movie together. It considers 14Mbps to be “fast” enough for guests to stream multiple HD videos simultaneously, and anything above 50+Mbps to be “lightning fast” and ideal for heavy-duty users.
The end result? A listing that’s (hopefully) more attractive to more potential guests thanks to verified Wi-Fi speeds.
Waze can be helpful for dodging gridlock and other headaches while you drive, but now it’s helping you make a more informed choice before you start moving. The Google-owned company has revamped the pre-drive screen on Android and iOS to deliver considerably more info on the pre-drive screen.
You’ll now see alternate routes, traffic levels, real-time reports and toll info, not to mention an explanation of just why Waze chose a given route. If the app recommends that you skip your typical route to work, you’ll know what’s to blame. You can still choose that usual route if you’d like.
The updated screen is already rolling out to users worldwide. In some ways, this is one of the more important Waze upgrades in recent memory. While Waze still thrives on its automatic route planning, this puts more control in your hands and might help more people understand how the app makes its decisions.
Data from Statista projects almost 550 million Wi-Fi hotspots by the year 2022. Unfortunately, while there may be a lot of them, many public Wi-Fi connections suck. And hotels can be among the worst. Here’s how to avoid the pitfalls of hotel Wi-Fi.
Did you see the headlines this week promising that AeroMobil would be making flying cars available for purchase in 2023? That’s just two years from now, if you can believe it. The company’s latest video even ends with the optimistic words, “coming 2023.” But can they pull it off? Let’s just say we’ve been hearing that…
Will people actually be staying in space hotels by 2027? That’s the promise of Orbital Assembly and Voyager Station, space startups that got a lot of headlines this week. But there are plenty of skeptics that space hotels could become a reality for Americans who are still waiting on universal healthcare.
Google is adding payments features to Maps to help users who need to move around town during the pandemic. The app now lets you handle your parking fees in more than 400 US cities and transport fares at upwards of 80 transit agencies around the world…