Verizon, the largest wireless provider in the United States based on total subscribers, announced plans to expand its next-generation wireless broadband beyond the initial test sites of Boston and Seattle. The LTE pilot has been an overwhelming success and soon another 25 to 30 markets will get to enjoy the blazing 4G speeds as well.
Verizon has been more than satisfied with the results of the initial LTE tests--testing the ability of the wireless broadband for voice calls, streaming video, Web browsing, and file uploads and downloads. With peak download speeds approaching 50mbps, the Verizon LTE network has averaged 5 to 12mbps download, and 2 to 5mbps.
Wireless broadband speeds that fast--rivaling the broadband speeds currently delivered by wired broadband providers--open up new doors for businesses and business professionals. Customers located in rural markets with no access to wired broadband may now have an option to subscribe to equivalent service through 4G / LTE wireless broadband.
For customers in rural areas, as well as customers already served by wired broadband options, LTE broadband speeds also provide an opportunity to converge services and cut costs. If the wireless broadband alone is sufficient, businesses and business professionals don't need to pay for both wired and wireless broadband. If one of the two is going to get cut, it makes sense to drop the wired broadband and stick with the one that allows the flexibility to connect from wherever and whenever you need to (assuming there is a signal).
Of course, wired broadband providers are working to push the envelope and exponentially increase the bandwidth they deliver. While speeds of 5 to 10mbps are common with cable modem and DSL broadband today, wired broadband providers are working toward 50mbps speeds.
FCC chairman Julius Genachowski recently unveiled a proposal to push for 100mbps broadband for 100 million Americans by 2020. Google, wanting to really push the envelope, plans to pilot test Gigabit broadband--delivering bandwidth ten times what the FCC has outlined.
The bottom line is that, while 4G / LTE wireless broadband is catching up to where the average wired broadband is today, wired broadband is not stagnant and will soon deliver even faster speeds. Certainly, customers satisfied with today's wired broadband speeds can still opt to eliminate one and rely solely on the 4g / LTE wireless broadband. However, many customers will still embrace the bleeding edge speeds that wired broadband is striving for.
Tony Melone, senior vice president and chief technical officer at Verizon Wireless, said in a statement "As device makers, manufacturers and others around the world begin to introduce newer and faster products to take advantage of these incredible new speeds, Verizon Wireless will be positioned to offer our customers new and exciting products on the nation's first 4G LTE network."
AT&T is not as far along in its 4G testing or rollout as Verizon--possibly a year or more behind where Verizon is. However, AT&T has consistently proven itself as the fastest 3G network, so it will be interesting to see what kind of speed AT&T can deliver when it catches up on implementing the next generation wireless technology.