Verizon has announced (opens in new tab) a new fixed wireless access home internet service in five U.S. states, in a bid to boost rural broadband access. The Verizon wireless LTE Home Internet service is to be hosted on Verizon’s 4G LTE network and is being piloted in Savannah, Georgia; Springfield, Missouri; and the Tri-Cities region of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky.
Many rural communities across America may have struggled to adapt to home learning and working due to a deficiency in broadband access, so the timing for one of the best cell phone providers (opens in new tab) to step in couldn't be better. Earlier in the year, the FCC’s broadband survey (opens in new tab) found that close to 42 million people didn't have high-speed internet access across America, with rural communities disproportionately affected by this.
“Our 4G LTE network keeps our customers connected when and where it matters most,” said Frank Boulben, Senior Vice President of Consumer Marketing and Products at Verizon. “With LTE Home Internet, our most awarded 4G LTE network will provide Internet connectivity for customers in more rural parts of America who may not have access to broadband Internet service - a critical need, especially now, when so many are counting on reliable connectivity for remote work and educational needs.”
Although Verizon didn’t take the top spot in our roundup of the best internet providers (opens in new tab), its outstanding 5G network recently won the 5G awards (opens in new tab), offering speeds up to ten times faster than other providers.
What is LTE Home Internet, and is it any good?
In a statement, Verizon announced that “With LTE Home Internet, customers can work from home, homeschool their kids, or binge-watch their favorite shows in HD using the nation’s most awarded network. They’ll get unlimited data, and experience download speeds of 25 Mbps with peak Internet speeds of 50 Mbps.” Is that good? Well, it’s not as fast as Verizon’s fiber internet offerings, and while Verizon offers an impressive cell phone coverage map (opens in new tab), covering over 98% of the population, it doesn’t mean that fast speeds are guaranteed if you are able to sign up to its fixed wireless access internet. Let’s just say that you could face some major buffering if you try out a streaming service (opens in new tab). Despite this, it’s certainly a step in the right direction for those struggling with broadband access during the pandemic.
So, if you’re based in one of the five states with access, should you try Verizon’s latest offering? It costs $40 a month for most existing Verizon wireless customers and $60 a month for non-Verizon customers. Add in a router for $240 (or $10 per month) which you’ll need to install yourself. Not cheap, but if you're stuck without broadband, it could well be worth it.