Verizon Wireless is showing off recent tests of its new Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network in Boston this week, as we round up the week's news on the mobile broadband technology.
The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based operator this week issued a video showing off people testing the new technology in a pizza joint in Boston this April. The results were -- unsurprisingly -- uniformly positive, with some testers suggesting that the downloads were up to "ten times" faster than 3G connections.
Watch the Verizon-produced video below:
PC Worldnotes that the Boston video shows a screenshot with a laptop downlink speed of 8.55 Mbit/s and an uplink of 2.80 Mbit/s with LTE. This is well within the 5 to 12 Mbit/s range for downloads promised by Verizon, but the network in Boston is hardly loaded down with users yet. (See When Will Verizon Launch LTE in 2010?)
Long-awaited and much-debated wireless public safety networks got a boost this week, BetaNews reports, as the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approved 21 petitions for public safety networks using the 700Mhz band. The agency mandated that the networks have to use LTE. States that should get the first responder networks include Alabama, Mississippi, Iowa, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Hawaii, Oregon, and the District of Columbia.
It doesn't look like it will be any easier to get a world phone for LTE when handsets start to arrive for the new technology in 2011 or later. IntoMobile notes that the European Union's move to open up 800Mhz for mobile broadband means that we're looking at another band for LTE. Many of the initial experiments with WiMax and LTE in Europe have used the 2.6GHz band, while the US is using 700Mhz. By some estimates there could be as many as 15 bands used worldwide for LTE by the time it is more fully deployed in 2014 or so.
Verizon Wireless is planning to share its 700MHz spectrum with rural carriers, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) CEO Lowell McAdam said this week. The Verizon boss toldThe Wall Street Journal that he doesn't expect to make "much money" from the plan, which could offer faster service for countryside customers currently using DSL connections. The deal would see Verizon license spectrum to carriers for a small fee, and either Verizon or the licensee could install the LTE equipment. This could allow Verizon to more quickly build out a nationwide LTE footprint through roaming deals with the carriers.
Interestingly, however, the DSL Reports blog is suggesting that there is a deeper -- and possibly more cynical -- logic behind the plan that would allow Verizon to get back DSL customers through an LTE backdoor without having to deal with costly copper plants or tricky labor unions. "Verizon can return to these markets and win back many of these customers... with LTE service. Because of the nature of these deals, Verizon's partner companies wind up overloaded with debt," writes Karl Bode about the deal on the DSL site.