PITTSFIELD -- Verizon has selected Pittsfield as the fifth area in Massachusetts to receive XLTE, an enhanced, upgraded version of the company’s existing LTE 4G network.
XLTE, which can be accessed by 26 different devices, has been available in the Pittsfield area for about a month, according to Verizon spokesman Michael Murphy.
In the Berkshires, XLTE service can be accessed from Pittsfield as far north as North Adams, and as far south as the Stockbridge-Lee area, Murphy said. Plans call for the service to eventually be available countywide, but Verizon has not set a timeline for that rollout.
The only other sections of the state where Verizon customers have access to XLTE service are in the Boston area, Hyannis and the mid-Cape Cod region, greater Springfield, and in the Fitchburg-Worcester area, according to Verizon. The service is also available in parts of every New England state except Maine and Vermont. Nationally, XLTE is available in 45 states and the District of Columbia.
Verizon selected Pittsfield to receive XLTE service based on the amount of digital activity that takes place in this area.
"When we looked at the data, we saw that our customers in Pittsfield were active," Murphy said. "They’re surfing the web, moving photos around, they’re really living the mobile lifestyle.
"XLTE is an attempt to stay ahead of that demand," he said.
XLTE is not a new network, but was built to complement Verizon’s existing 700MHZ 4G network with the Advanced Wireless Services Network that the company acquired from some of the country’s largest cable providers, according to Forbes Magazine.
In August 2013, the Federal Communications Commission approved a $3.9 billion transaction that allowed Verizon Wireless to expand its data networks by tapping into the mostly unused frequencies of Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications, according to The New York Times.
According to Forbes, XLTE can potentially be twice as fast as Verizon’s existing 4G network, depending on the user’s location.
"XLTE essentially runs on a different spectrum than traditional LTE runs on," Murphy said.
The size of that spectrum allows Verizon customers who use XLTE to increase their bandwidth, and perform online tasks like watching videos, uploading and downloading photos and surfing the web more efficiently.
"They’ll potentially see faster downloading on their devices through uploading XLTE," Murphy said.
For those who regularly watch video, XLTE will help prevent buffering, which is the amount of time it takes for a user to access video online, Murphy said.
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