Verizon Wireless is continuing to spread 4G LTE coverage beyond the main "NFL City" metros, with new turn-ups in Buffalo, Niagara Falls, Amherst, Brant, North Collins and Dunkirk, N.Y.; Manhattan, McPherson, Junction City, and Wamego, Kan.; and Rutland, Mass. Verizon has steadily worked on bringing 4G to rural and small-tier towns and cities, including via its LTE in Rural America program. The company's 4G LTE network now is available to two-thirds of the U.S. population, in more than 300 markets nationwide.
The wireless operator says that in real-world, fully-loaded network environments, customers can use their 4G LTE smartphones, tablets, notebooks, laptop modems and mobile hotspots to experience average data rates of 5 to 12Mbps on the downlink and 2 to 5Mbps on the uplink.
"We've always believed the best wireless devices deserve the best wireless network," said Gene Fassett, executive director of network for Verizon Wireless in upstate New York, where the company invested $158 million into the network last year. "People everywhere are increasingly relying on their tablets, smartphones and apps to stay organized, connected and entertained. Our investment here in upstate New York and across the country has kept us ahead of this consumer trend and underscores our belief that 4G LTE delivers the best value to customers by maximizing the performance of their wireless devices."
Verizon is building infrastructure itself, but also partnering with others. In May, Pioneer Cellular went live with LTE in six counties in Oklahoma, the first of Verizon’s LTE in Rural America partners to bring a commercial service through the program. The program allows smaller operators to lease Verizon's 700 MHz spectrum in areas where it isn't econsomically feasible for Verizon itself to build out the network. In return, rural partners get reciprocal roaming privileges Verizon, giving them essentially a nationwide footprint. That's an important consideration for a smaller operator trying to bring service parity to underserved communities.