Verizon today updated its online coverage map with new 5G “ultra wideband” C-band coverage, showing where it says more than 90 million Americans will be able to get the new system.
We tested Verizon’s C-band last week and found the system doubled or tripled Verizon’s 4G speeds. In the best case, we saw speeds of up to 700 Mbps. In addition to making phones faster, Verizon intends to use the new airwaves to expand its wireless Internet offering to $50/month. However, wireless home internet will not be available wherever the map shows coverage, as it is highly dependent on available network capacity.
I’m not sure how reliable the map is at tracking coverage now, as opposed to where Verizon intends to have coverage soon. The map shows some C-Band covered locations that my testing showed had no C-Band. For example, I tested in the New York neighborhoods of Long Island City, Sunnyside, and Rego Park last Wednesday, all of which should have C-Band coverage, according to Verizon’s map. But I couldn’t find a C-Band there.
The map also shows full C-band coverage in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn. I found C-band coverage there on Friday, but not as much as the map shows.
Verizon tells me that coverage did indeed improve between last week and this week, though the company didn’t go into block-by-block details.
Other people seem to have the same problem.
At that exact moment, I sent all my network test phones to Chicago so we could review AT&T C-Band performance there. But I will continue to monitor the situation.
Small towns get love too
C-Band isn’t just for central cities, the map shows. Much of central Alabama and northwestern South Carolina is covered. In Indiana, a strong block of cover stretches from southwest Indianapolis past Muncie, 70 miles away.
Dots and spots of coverage hit small towns in New York, such as Cooperstown and Montour Falls, which are hundreds of miles from a major city. Areas around Harrison and Flippin, Arkansas are both covered.
Several small towns in northern Arkansas are covered.
Depending on how far you think you can trust the CellMapper.net crowdsourced database, you can also determine how far C-Band actually reaches this map. A tower on Fairgrounds Rd. in Watkins Glen, New York can reach nearly 2 miles north, although there is a lake involved, which can help bounce the signal. However, there are certainly new sites that are not in the CellMapper database. In Salow Corners, Ohio, CellMapper does not show sites that would explain Verizon’s reported coverage.
No C band in DC or Denver
The map shows the strict boundaries of the 46 “partial economic zones” (PEAs) where Verizon is allowed to install C-Band.
When coverage reaches the borders of Maryland, it decreases. Colorado, Georgia, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico and Vermont are all left out entirely.
Band C is shut off in Maryland due to federal restrictions.
This is partly because states do not include any of the top 46 PEAs. That’s partly because Denver, Atlanta and Washington, DC were on a specific exclusion list where satellite companies have more time to clean up spectrum.
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In these cases, Verizon cannot legally launch any coverage until 2024. These are all areas where T-Mobile and AT&T will have a significant advantage as the year progresses. T-Mobile’s current 2.5GHz “ultra capacity” 5G and AT&T’s new 3.45GHz 5G, which it can install later this year, aren’t subject to the same legal restrictions as the band. vs.
AT&T also has C-Band in eight cities right now, but it hasn’t updated its coverage map.
Airport exclusion zones shown
“Exclusion zones” around major airports, which Verizon has agreed to with the FAA, show up on the map, but not as I expected.
The exclusion zone around Chicago’s Midway Airport appears to be mostly to the east.
Looking at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, Chicago’s Midway, and Dallas Love Field, all of the airport grounds themselves appear to be covered in 5G, and there are excluded pockets in some directions but not others. . These pockets do not match what I thought were the track alignments.
Small airports often do not have exclusion zones. At Marion County Regional Airport in Flippin, Arkansas, the map shows consistent coverage in and around the airfield.
You can check Verizon’s coverage map on its website.
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