Verizon has announced a new home internet service that uses its 4G LTE wireless network. The service will target rural communities that aren’t currently served by Verizon’s Fios or 5G Home options.
The new “broadband” service is now available in Savannah, Georgia; Springfield, Missouri; and the Tri-Cities region of Tennessee, Virginia, and Kentucky. The plan will cost $40 per month for customers who already have a Verizon mobile plan and $60 for everyone else. (You’ll also need an LTE Home router, which costs $240.)
“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,” said Frank Boulben, senior vice president of consumer marketing and products at Verizon, in a statement.
When asked why the company is launching an LTE-based home internet service now, which it could have theoretically offered at any point over the past few years, a Verizon spokesperson told The Verge that the service is rolling out in response to more customers working and studying from home due to COVID-19. “With more and more people working from home and engaging in distance learning, we wanted to make this resource available now.”
“Our most awarded 4G LTE network will provide Internet connectivity for customers in more rural parts of America.”
Verizon says LTE Home customers will receive unlimited data and download speeds of 25Mbps with peak speeds of 50Mbps. That’s much slower than the best speeds available through Verizon’s Fios or 5G services, which promise speeds of up to 940Mbps for the top plans.
Still, slow speeds are all that’s available in many rural areas; recent reports have estimated that there are 42.8 million people in the US without broadband access. The average rural internet speed is just over 39Mbps. Verizon says its 4G LTE network covers 98 percent of the US population. Of course, the fact that an area has 4G LTE coverage doesn’t mean that coverage is good — and it’s far from a guarantee that every rural household will receive speeds close to what Verizon promises.