Faster data in 461 cities? Yes, please.
Faster data in 461 cities? Yes, please.

Your Verizon phone just got a lot faster

I’m not entirely proud to admit it, but I’m addicted to my Verizon service on my iPhone and iPad. Not just because I worked for the company, permitting cell towers, in the late ‘90s when it was PrimeCo, but because it’s the fastest, most consistent network out there. I know because I’ve used others.

How addicted am I to fast data? Well, I blew through about 10 GB of it on my recent family road trip to Colorado. LTE was a life-saver with Netflix in the car. I posted photos from atop a mountain. It didn't work everywhere in Rocky Mountain National Park, but in plenty of places, it did. It was certainly more reliable than the hotel Wi-Fi in any of our stops. And it was fast.

Today, fast data speeds got faster.

Verizon just rolled out its LTE Advanced technology to bring 50% faster peak wireless data speeds to more than 288 million people in 461 cities, including Milwaukee.

In a nutshell, the company describes it like a turbocharger on an engine. Your speeds won’t be faster until you do something data-intensive, like downloading a movie. And it just works automatically on 39 LTE Advanced-capable phones and tablets already on its network. Those include Samsung Galaxy S6 and S7 smartphones, Moto Droids and iPhones. As new devices from Apple, Samsung, LG and other manufacturers are introduced, they will be LTE Advanced-capable right out of the box.

How fast are the speeds they're claiming?

Typical LTE download speeds are 5-12 Mbps, but two-channel carrier aggregation has shown peak download speeds of up to 225 Mbps, they say. While the speeds of two channel carrier aggregation provide a leap forward, three-channel carrier aggregation provides even greater efficiency. Verizon engineers deploying three-channel carrier aggregation have experienced speeds greater than 300 Mbps.

That’s pretty fast. Much faster than the internet connection at home (mine peaks at 25 Mpbs with U-Verse). And it doesn’t cost more to use it.

This reluctantly heavy data user is…

Former OnMilwaukeean Drew Olson is now working at WOKY.
Former OnMilwaukeean Drew Olson is now working at WOKY.

Drew Olson jumps to Big 920

My friend Drew Olson has a new work address.

The veteran Milwaukee sports journalist / broadcaster – and former senior editor – ended an 11-year run as a talk-show host at ESPN Milwaukee (540 AM) last week and will begin a new chapter with The Big 920 (WOKY) on Monday.

"I’m continuing my career-long quest to drive down the ratings and readership at every outlet in the state," Olson joked. "To quote ‘The Newsroom’ anchor Will McAvoy, ‘Progress is slow, but I’m in it for the long haul.’"

Olson, who spent much of his career covering the Brewers beat for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and did freelance work for Fox Sports Wisconsin, remains a contributor on "Big 12 Sports Saturday" on WISN-TV and as baseball analyst for "Bob and Brian in the Morning" on 102.9 The Hog.

"It might seem like I’ve worked at a lot of places, but by media standards my career has been remarkably stable," said Olson, who will work as a fill-in host at The Big 920 while management decides on a suitable time slot. "It’s already been a fun ride and I’m looking forward to what’s next."

Olson said his split from ESPN Milwaukee, which he characterized as "one of the most amicable partings in radio history," was prompted in large part by the station’s decision to reduce his two-hour midday show to a single hour in order to make room for "Wilde & Tausch," a program featuring Jason Wilde and former Packers and Badgers offensive lineman Mark Tauscher.

"The easy joke is that Tauscher came in and ate an hour of our show," Olson said of the hulking former tackle. "But, I totally understood the decision. Jason is one of my best friends and those guys are going to be great together."

Olson said his friendship with Colleen Valkoun, who is market president for iHeart Media’s Milwaukee cluster, made his decision to leave "a virtual no-brainer."

"I met Colleen years ago when she did sales for Bob & Brian, and I always loved her energy and ideas," said of Valkoun…