TAMPA, FL — Verizon Wireless, owner and operator of the nation's most reliable wireless network, announced today that its 2006 Florida network investment topped $205 million to enhance services and coverage to customers throughout the state.
The company's ongoing network investment now totals about $1.5 billion in Florida and more than $35 billion nationally over the past seven years.
Efforts in Florida in 2006 featured the addition of more than 90 new wireless transmission sites, as well as the launch of the BroadbandAccess high-speed wireless network in numerous new markets in the state. These new areas include Gainesville, Saint Augustine, Lakeland, Ocala, Daytona Beach, Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Vero Beach, Sebring, Panama City, Citrus County and southwest Florida from Bradenton to Naples.
With these launches, about 90 percent of the state's population is covered by the Verizon Wireless BroadbandAccess network. The high-speed service has been available in major markets such as Tampa Bay, Orlando, Jacksonville, southeast Florida and Tallahassee beginning in 2004.
"We've made large-scale investments throughout Florida in order to provide our customers with a network that is reliable and that provides the most advanced high-speed wireless services for businesses," said Pamela Tope, Verizon Wireless Florida region president.
Wireless data traffic increased significantly in 2006 as advanced technologies such as the Verizon Wireless V CAST and V CAST Music information and entertainment services have been introduced in growing areas of the state and have quickly become popular with consumers.
Network tests also showed improvement for all Florida markets in a variety of key performance standards such as effective attempts in which the Verizon Wireless network already leads the wireless industry.
Much of the network testing is performed teams of technicians in special vehicles loaded with computers, wireless phones and other equipment. In 2006, these real-life Test Men (who serve as the inspiration for the famous TV Test Man ad campaign) traveled more than 100,000 miles in Florida to measure and ensure strength and reliability of the Verizon Wireless network throughout the state.
Other Florida 2006 network highlights include:
- A $40-million, 36,000-square-foot network switching facility, designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes, was opened in Orlando to better handle calls across Central Florida and to serve as an emergency operations center in the case of storms.
- The 90+ new transmission sites increased the Verizon Wireless coverage area to more than 26,000 square miles about 95 percent of the state's inhabitable landmass and to more than 95 percent of the state's population.
- The first Big City Wireless Use Study by Verizon Wireless found that the average Verizon Wireless customer from Miami makes and receives an average of 298 calls per month, significantly more than customers from any other major U.S. city.
- A high-tech in-building wireless system to ensure wireless coverage for sports and concert fans, news media and arena staff was installed at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa. Verizon Wireless spent almost $200,000 to create and install the system, featuring 40 small state-of-the-art antennas (six of them hidden in the arena's overhead scoreboard) throughout the 660,000-square-foot facility.
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" and 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, please contact Chuck Hamby at 813-615-4803 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 57 million customers. The largest US wireless company and largest wireless data provider, based on revenues, Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 60,000 employees nationwide. The company is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.####