VZ 4G vs. AT&T DSL, Lowndes County, Georgia, 2012-09-08

It turns out you can’t yet buy Verizon’s HomeFusion Broadband 4G wireless Internet service

in Georgia. (You can buy it in Tennessee.) However, in Georgia, you can buy one of several 4G LTE devices that have most of the same capabilities. For example, I have here a Verizon Jetpack™ 4G LTE Mobile Hotspot MiFi©, which is about the size of a pack of cards. A few minutes ago I compared its speeds directly with AT&T 3Mbps DSL. Here are the results.

The MiFi I’ve got is a slightly older model of the one pictured above, because for years

AT&T DSL: 2.66Mbps down 0.31Mbps up
VZ 4G: 10.88Mbps down 7.14Mbps up
Verizon 4G
I’ve been using it and its predecessors on road trips, for Skype, web browsing, blog posting, etc. It’s also come in very handy as a plan B home Internet access method on the many occassions when AT&T’s DSL has flaked out. Mostly I did not use it for uploading videos or watching them much, because until recently it was relatively slow, using EVDO technology at about 1Mbps down and 0.7Mbps up. Suddenly, the MiFi has gotten much much faster, ten times faster, because Verizon has turned on their 4G LTE service in Lowndes County, at least for mobile access.

The tables show results using SpeakEasy Speedtest a few minutes ago.

downup downup
AT&T DSL 2.66Mbps 0.31Mbps 322KB/sec 38KB/sec
Verizon 4G 10.88Mbps 7.14Mbps 1360KB/sec 893KB/sec

Verizon’s 4G LTE is way faster, as in 4 times as fast on download as AT&T’s alleged 3Mbps DSL and 24 times as fast on upload. That means minutes instead of all night to upload videos of a one-hour meeting. It’s also faster than AT&T’s or Mediacom’s in-town 6Mbps speeds.

Those VZ 4G speeds are actually faster than the big city 4G speeds PCWorld found in May. And Verizon’s 4G is way more reliable than AT&T’s DSL. Multiple times we’ve had horrible protracted DSL technical problems sometimes going on for months, requiring many hours of voice-mail hell to get anybody at AT&T to stop trying to blame it on the customer and actually do something to fix the problem. Not once did AT&T ever even rebate anything on the bill for the time they were not providing usable service, although they did offer more time in voice-mail hell to try to get their billing department to do so. That’s right, mighty AT&T apparently hasn’t figured out how to connect their technical and billing departments. Talking to somebody in the nearby subdivision where they have AT&T fiber Internet, the “service”, similar problems apparently exist even there, resulting in VZ 4G being the preferred choice for some residents.

Now, is this an ad for VZ 4G LTE as the solution to all our Internet access problems here in south Georgia? No, it is not. At $60/month and up it still costs too much for many people who live here. If Verizon successfully gets many people to switch, they can raise prices further. As more people use this service, will VZ add capacity fast enough to keep those speeds that fast? VZ already has data caps on their end-user service, which is more like cable TV than the way the Internet has historically worked. AT&T apparently also has 4G in Lowndes County; I just happen to have a Verizon 4G device for historical reasons. With both AT&T and VZ’s 4G, there are coverage issues.

So, no, VZ 4G is not the solution to all our Internet access problems. We could still use county-wide broadband. We could still use some strategies for Lowndes County. But at least VZ 4G is a fast Internet option that actually works out here in the edge of the county.