It wasn’t very long ago that the US was considered behind most developed countries in wireless Internet tech. Oh, how the tables have turned. On Thursday April 19th, Verizon will add 27 new cities to its 4G network, with expanded coverage in another 44. According to its press release, this combined with other recent rollouts means that Verizon’s 4G network will cover two-thirds of the US population – a staggering achievement considering that the service is less than a year and a half old. Verizon’s first LTE device, the HTC Thunderbolt, launched just over a year ago.

The new markets are focused on the south, with Brunswick, LaGrange and Macon, Georgia and Ocala, Florida seeing the network launched. Dodge City, Kansas, Pierre South, Dakota and the Cattaraugus-Allegany counties in New York will also get the LTE switch thrown, among many others. Verizon is expanding the breadth of its service area in St. Louis, Missouri and the surrounding area, Wichita, Kansas, southern Illinois and the eastern and southeastern regions of Des Moines, Iowa. Buffalo, New York will also get “enhanced” service, presumably with some speed improvements.

By contrast, AT&T has only 32 cities, most of them major population centers, whereas medium-sized residential cities seem to be Verizon’s focus at the moment. With the other two carriers in the “Big Four” way behind on their LTE rollout, Verizon is well ahead in both coverage and device availability for true 4G – currently they’re offering a dozen Android LTE smartphones, plus two models of Motorola’s DROID XYBOARD and the Galaxy Tab 10.1 and Galaxy Tab 7.7 tablets from Samsung. AT&T is aggressively adding both markets and devices, but for the moment Verizon is decidedly in the lead on both counts. Let’s hope they can improve that reliability as well.