We have to hand it to Verizon — it's pushing out its LTE network at a pretty remarkable rate. Just over a year ago, the HTC Thunderbolt launched as the first LTE-capable phone on the carrier, and now Verizon's announcing that its high-speed network will cover more than two-thirds of the US population, as of April 19th. That's the planned date for yet another large rollout — this one will encompass 27 new markets, and increase coverage in an additional 44. Verizon's plan was to have two-thirds of the country covered by mid-year, so the company appears to have soundly beat that goal.

As part of the announcement, Verizon noted that it's planning to have launched in over 400 markets by the end of 2012, covering some 260 million citizens. While LTE still provides a pretty big hit on battery life (unless you're using a Droid RAZR Maxx), we still like seeing next-generation service making its way to as many markets as possible. Sprint and AT&T definitely have some catching up to do.

Verizon's new LTE markets planned for April 19th: Auburn and Tuscaloosa, Ala.; Pine Bluff, Siloam Springs and Van Buren, Ark.; Visalia/Porterville, Calif.; Fort Walton Beach and Ocala, Fla.; Brunswick, LaGrange and Macon/Warner Robins, Ga.; Peoria, Ill.; Kokomo/Logansport and Marion, Ind.; Dodge City, Garden City, Great Bend and Hays, Kan.; Salisbury, Md.; Cattaraugus/Allegany, N.Y.; Sandusky, Ohio; Ardmore and Ponca City, Okla.; Salem/Albany/Corvallis, Ore.; Pierre, S.D.; and Big Springs and Tyler, Texas.