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Verizon today updated its online coverage map (opens in new window) with new C-band 5G "ultra-broadband" coverage, showing where more than 90 million Americans will be able to get the new system.
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We tested Verizon's Band C last week and found that the system doubled or tripled Verizon's 4G speeds. We've seen speeds up to 700Mbps at best. In addition to making phones faster, Verizon plans to use the new airwaves to expand its $50-a-month wireless home Internet offering. However, home wireless internet will not be available everywhere the map shows coverage, as it is highly dependent on available network bandwidth.
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I'm not sure how reliable the map is for tracking coverage at this point, unlike where Verizon plans to have coverage soon. The map shows some places covered by C that my testing showed to have no C-band. For example, last Wednesday I tested in New York's Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Rego Park areas, all of which should have Band C coverage according to Verizon's map. But I didn't find the C-Band there.
The map also shows the full coverage of C in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. On Friday I found some C-band coverage there, but not as shown on the map.
Verizon tells me that coverage has improved between last week and this week, though the company didn't go into block-by-block detail.
At this point, I sent all my network test phones to Chicago so we could test AT&T C-Band performance there. But I continue to monitor the situation.
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The map shows that group C is not only for central cities. Most of central Alabama and northwestern South Carolina are covered. In Indiana, a continuous block of cover extends 70 miles southwest of Indianapolis near Muncie.
Spots and spots affect small New York towns like Cooperstown and Montour Falls, which are hundreds of miles from the big city. Areas around Harrison and Flippin, Arkansas are covered.
Depending on how much you think you can trust the crowdsourced CellMapper.net database, you can also determine how far the C group actually goes on this map. Tower on Fairgrounds Rd. In Watkins Glen, New York, it can be reached almost 2 miles to the north, although there is a lake here that can contribute to signal drift. However, there are certainly new sites that are not in the CellMapper database. CellMapper in Salou Corners, Ohio does not show any sites that would explain Verizon's claimed coverage.
The map shows the exact boundaries of 46 "partial economic zones" (PEAs) where Verizon is allowed to deploy C-band.
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As coverage hits the Maryland state line, it drops. Completely excluded are Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico, and Vermont.
That's partly because the states don't include any of the top 46 PEAs. That's partly because Denver, Atlanta and Washington, D.C., were on a list of special exemptions where satellite companies get more time to clear spectrum.
In these cases, Verizon cannot legally launch any coverage until 2024. These are all areas where T-Mobile and AT&T will have significant advantages throughout the year. T-Mobile's current "supercapacity" 2.5GHz 5G network and AT&T's new 3.45GHz 5G network, which could be deployed later this year, are not subject to the same legal restrictions as C-band.
The "exclusion zones" around major airports that Verizon has agreed to with the FAA show up on the map, but not in the way I expected.
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Looking at LaGuardia Airport in New York, Midway in Chicago and Love Field in Dallas, all areas of the airport appear to be covered by 5G, and there are pockets in some destinations that are excluded but not in others. These pockets don't measure up to what I thought runway alignment would be.
Small airports often do not have exclusion zones. At the Marion County Regional Airport in Flippin, Arkansas, a map shows stable coverage in and around the airport.
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I'm that 5G guy. I've actually been here for every "C". I've reviewed over a thousand products in my 18 years of full-time work, including every generation of the iPhone and Samsung Galaxy S.
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