Whining about cell service is, after baseball, probably America’s favorite pasttime. But you don’t need to use anecdotes to prove how many dropped calls you get, or how rare two bars of LTE is in your city. RootMetrics has published its annual ranking of cell service in metro areas, and boy oh boy, does Denver suck.
RootMetrics is a company that conducts tests on cell networks across the country, providing a more objective data point than the networks’ optimistic coverage maps. Reliability, speed, calling and text are all averaged to produce a score out of 100, which are used to rank the best and worst cities.
Surprisingly, size is no guarantee of quality. Number one on the list is Lansing, MI, population 313,000. In fact, only two big cities are in the top 10: Atlanta is third, and Chicago comes in fifth. New York is 59, Los Angeles is 99th, and Washington is 66th. Not great numbers for cities that are meant to be world beacons.
What about the worst cities in North America? Well, things are a little less surprising here. I never thought Scranton, Pennsylvania would be known for anything other than The Office, but it now has the dubious distinction of being third from bottom in cell service. Where is worse than Scranton, I hear you ask? Omaha and Hudson Valley, which makes some kind of sense.
As far as I can tell, there’s no real correlation between East coast, West coast, and bad cell service. Big cities tend to finish somewhere in the middle of the rankings, while smaller towns that haven’t seen much growth are unsurprisingly on the bottom of the list for infrastructure investment.