US Senate takes on 4G Providers

4g coverage map

Three US Senators have introduced a new bill aimed at getting the FUD out of today’s 4G coverage mess.  The “Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act” will attempt to do something that providers have done their best to avoid – state plain facts about their coverage and it’s speeds in their advertisements.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn introduced the act today.  It stems from the mess that came when providers began advertising 4G networks that don’t technically meet actual 4G standards.  To get a great technical breakdown of what real 4G is, and what many wireless companies (AT&T and T-Mobile for instance) are actually using (referred to as near-4G) head over to the article on Wikipedia.

The new bill would require providers to guarantee a minimum speed, provide real coverage area maps, and specify the technology being used.  It also would cover network reliability and pricing.  Finally, it allows the FCC to oversee the speeds of top carriers and provide comparison tests that users can look at when deciding which carrier they should enter into a contract with.

A similar bill passed the House of Representatives back in June of this year.  Expect it to be a harder sell in the Senate, where telecom lobbyists are sure to put up a tremendous fight.