We already knew Verizon was planning to hit one third of the country with LTE this year with plans to expand dramatically after that, but things are starting to come into sharper focus: the carrier today said that it'll light up 30 "NFL cities" with 4G by the end of the year. Now, there's only 32 teams, so it shouldn't be too hard to figure out where that's going to be -- and considering the plan is to hit "major metropolitan areas," we'll go ahead and guess Green Bay isn't on the list, even though the Packers are by far the best team in the league. (Buffalo and Jacksonville also spring to mind -- and let's not forget that the NFL still isn't in LA, despite Ari Gold's best fictional efforts on Entourage.) The plan is to first upgrade each cell site's backhaul connection to Gigabit Ethernet so they'll have the necessary bandwidth to support the 5-12Mbps down and 2-5Mbps up speeds with 30-150ms latency promised for Big Red's LTE network at launch. Ambitious, but hey -- we'd love nothing more than to be streaming the Super Bowl over LTE when all's said and done.

Update: As many of our beloved commenters have pointed out, there are technically only 30 NFL markets, as New York has the Giants and Jets and the Raiders and 49ers play across the bay from each other. LTE for everyone, then? We'll have to wait and see -- and we've got a feeling a few Oakland residents might take offense at being lumped in with their neighbors across the bridge.

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Verizon to light up LTE network in 30 'NFL cities' this year