How we mapped mobile data in South Bend (IN)

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As the City of South Bend’s Civic Innovation team works to better connect residents in our community, we need to first understand residents’ current experiences across connectivity options. This understanding is especially critical as we prepare for historic investments in internet infrastructure and assess where we should target this funding in our city. For mobile broadband, the type of internet that 12.4% of South Bend residents rely on exclusively (2021 American Community Survey), we turned to Dr. Monisha Ghosh and Dr. Nick Laneman, faculty in Notre Dame’s Wireless Institute and members of the South Bend Connectivity Coalition. Dr Ghosh worked with a former student to launch SigCap, an app that passively measures cellular and Wi-Fi signal type and quality. Working with the city's Solid Waste and Public Works teams, we were be able to test mobile data speeds at almost every residence along our trash truck routes. The data we collected in this project provide a strong foundation for understanding the capabilities of our city’s mobile networks. Depending on the carrier, in some areas performance falls below the Federal Communications Commission’s definition of broadband: 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload.

How we mapped mobile data in South Bend South Bend Mobile Data Project