Verizon Wireless Expands Digital Service in Brandenton, Florida

BRANDENTON, FL — To enhance wireless service for businesses, residents and visitors along the coast of west-central Florida, Verizon Wireless has expanded its digital network here by constructing a new advanced digital site in Bradenton.

The site processes both voice calls and wireless data traffic utilizing the company's new advanced high-speed data Evolution Data Only (EV-DO) technology — called BroadbandAccess — and is designed to provide stronger wireless coverage and additional call capacity for residents and businesses on Lena Road and Highway 64 between Greenfield Boulevard and Interstate 75. In addition, this site provides stronger in-building coverage throughout the residential areas along Highway 64 east of I-75.

The new site and service are part of continuing growth and investment in Florida by Verizon Wireless. In the first three quarters of 2004, the company spent nearly $200 million in the state to further expand and enhance its all-digital network.

This aggressive network investment — totaling nearly $800 million alone during the past four years — is designed to stay ahead of the growing demand here for wireless voice and data services like picture messaging and Internet access, and to secure its network for operations during events such as this year's unprecedented hurricane season.

The Verizon Wireless network in Florida has withstood the impact of five hurricanes so far in 2004, in each instance remaining on air while landlines and other wireless providers faltered. In Florida, more than 85 percent of all Verizon Wireless sites have their own back-up generator, in addition to battery power, to keep the network running despite lack of power.

As one of the only means of communication in many impacted areas of Florida following each storm, Verizon Wireless provided thousands of wireless phones to public safety agencies and emergency operations centers from Palm Beach to Pensacola.

The company also set up free calling centers in devastated areas, providing thousands of phone calls and more than one million free minutes for hurricane survivors to call loved ones, and contact insurance companies and relief organizations.

"This new site in Bradenton can help improve public safety in many emergency situations," said Mike Lanman, Florida region president for Verizon Wireless. "But every day it also allows us to meet the growing needs of businesses and consumers calling co-workers and friends, sending picture messages, checking emails and so much more."

Wireless data communication on the new Broadband Access site will average transfer speeds of 300-500 kbps using a laptop equipped with a Verizon Wireless 5520 Aircard. The technology was recently launched throughout South Florida and the Tampa Bay areas, as well as international airports in Orlando and Jacksonville. Verizon Wireless plans to continue to build out Broadband Access in Florida in 2004 and 2005.

About Verizon Wireless' Network InvestmentOver the last three years, Verizon Wireless has invested about a billion dollars every 90 days -- more than $12 billion -- in its nationwide network, offering customers access to the most extensive wireless voice and data network in the United States. Local investment makes it possible to offer South Florida customers the most reliable service available on the nation's largest wireless network. The company's most reliable network claim is based on network studies performed by real-life test men and test women who inspired the company's national "Can you hear me now? Good!®" advertising campaign. They conduct more than 300,000 calls monthly on the Verizon Wireless network and other national wireless carriers' networks while traveling over 100,000 miles across Florida — including Carol City --in specially-equipped, company-owned quality test vehicles.

Test Man Ride-Along ProgramThe specially equipped Verizon Wireless test vehicles simultaneously test seven wireless providers, using a computerized program to generate phonically diverse "conversations" as well as data transmissions. Members of the media who are interested in setting up an interview or ride-along with a local member of the Verizon Wireless team of real-life test men and women should contact Chuck Hamby at 813-615-4803 or via email at  

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless is the nation's leading provider of wireless communications. The company has the largest nationwide wireless voice and data network and 40.4 million customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at To receive broadcast-quality video footage of Verizon Wireless operations, log onto