The Worst Wireless City in the USA
Buffalo, N.Y., was the wireless slowcoach for last year, according to data from Seattle-based RootMetrics. The researchers visit the top 75 urbanized areas in the country and use data and a downloadable speed test app to collate the speeds of 4G and 3G networks across the country.
In the fall, RootMetrics provided Light Reading Mobile with data about the fastest and slowest wireless cities in the U.S. To determine the slowest city in the land, the company took average highs and lows from AT&T Inc., Leap Wireless International Inc., MetroPCS Inc., Sprint Nextel Inc., T-Mobile USA and Verizon Wireless in a given market and averaged all of them.
Buffalo was found to be the worst of the worst with average downloads of 3.6-Mbit/s across the six carriers. Of course, averages from each carrier, with wildly different speeds from 3G and 4G networks, do tend to obscure the very slowest speeds. For instance, McAllen, Texas, which was the second slowest city on average, saw recorded low downloads of 2.4-Mbit/s from AT&T and 0.3-Mbit/s from Sprint in 2012.
Things may be looking up for Buffalo in 2013, however, as RootMetrics revisited the market late in the year and found that AT&T and Verizon have been punching up their 4G LTE networks in the area.
AT&T's LTE upgrade has really pumped up their numbers for Buffalo. RootMetrics found that AT&T's average download speed increased from 3.3-Mbit/s to 14.5-Mbit/s. Average upload speeds climbed from 1.1-Mbit/s to 7-Mbit/s. Similarly, Verizon's average download speed increased from 8.1-Mbit/s to 12.1-Mbit/s. "All other carriers delivered average data speeds that were consistent with those found during our previous visit," the company said in its latest report. — Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile