Adapted from an article by Adriano Giaquinta, June 28, 2021 | Original Speedcheck article here.
A fresh perspective on 5G in the US sheds light on how regulatory decisions, geo-political tensions, and suboptimal network configurations, contributed to a disappointing year in 2020.
Real-World Results: 5G Wireless Cannot Close the Digital Divide
Note: All of the Wireless speeds discussed below are far below the speeds needed to close the Digital Divide. Americans need symmetric broadband at 100 Mbps Up/100 Mpbs down The best way to achieve 100 Mbps symmetric service is via wired broadband directly to homes — Fiber direct, Fiber/coaxial or Fiber/Fast DSL copper.The U.S. Government agrees!
Dept. of Treasury: Interim Final Rule (p.71) for Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds
“Under the Interim Final Rule, eligible projects are expected to be designed to deliver, upon project completion, service that reliably meets or exceeds symmetrical upload and download speeds of 100 Mbps. . . . In setting these standards, Treasury identified speeds necessary to ensure that broadband infrastructure is sufficient to enable users to generally meet household needs, including the ability to support the simultaneous use of work, education, and health applications, and also sufficiently robust to meet increasing household demands for bandwidth.”
2020 was supposed to be the year in which 5G revolutionized the telecommunications industry, with breakneck speeds and super-low latencies. Everyone – from chip manufacturers to cellular carriers and smartphone brands – promised how amazing 5G would be. That didn’t materialize. The real-world results of 5G, to date, have been underwhelming — not much better than 4G, which can already achieve 50 Mbps.
In 2020, 5G speeds in the US did not come anywhere close to the promised download speeds, where available (just 2x . . . NOT 25x faster than 4G!, as advertised). Data collected from October 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 by our speed test, which measures the quality of Internet connections on millions of devices yearly, shows that 5G networks in the US did not deliver.
States and Localities Are Being Bamboozled, Once Again, with the Wireless Industry’s, Over-Promise, Under-Deliver Bait-and-Switch Schemes
Well-respected technology journalists, Jon Brodkin of Ars Technica and Karl Bode of Tech Dirt have already documented in 2020 that for both Verizon and AT&T, their 5G has been slower than 4G!. These real-world results have caused the companies to make two strategic changes:
- Verizon and AT&T have pretty much abandoned widespread roll out of millimeter wave 5G — the frequency that allegedly needed have antennas placed on utility poles, light poles and traffic light poles, despite the 2018 admission by Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam that millimeter wave 5G transmits 2,000–3,000 feet and beyond (see video, below)
- Both Verizon and AT&T invested $Billions in the Jan 2021 CBRS mid-band spectrum (3,550–3,650 MHz) auction — a frequency that can be deployed on existing macro towers — meaning that 3,550–3,650 MHz 5G DOES NOT NEED to have antennas placed on utility poles, light poles and traffic light poles.