The Bakken Boom for oil production has brought explosive population growth and infrastructure needs to rural areas of western North Dakota. Wireless usage by residents, visitors and new businesses in the Bakken oil fields area* increased by 56 percent for voice and exploded 130 percent for data from last year.
Williston is now the fastest-growing small city in the United States according to census estimates. Between April 2010, and July 2011, Williston, grew by 8.8 percent while Dickinson grew at a four per cent increase, ranking fourth of the fastest-growing micropolitan areas.
The Verizon 4G LTE network brings true mobile broadband speeds to the area, and, as an overlay to the existing data network, greatly increases capacity for data-hungry residents and workers. “Wireless is the only way that workers can connect with their bosses in the oil industry and Verizon’s network works here,” said Linda Hartsfield, manager at Capital Lodge in Tioga, one of the famous “man camps” that provides housing for the rising population. “The workers are away from home and they are staying in touch with their families through facebook and photos.”
The growth will continue with officials saying that another 10,000 jobs will be added in the Williston Basin alone this year. Hartsfield echoed that sentiment saying that “the opportunity in North Dakota is wide open for businesses, from housing to selling hamburgers.” The Capital Lodge will be “doubling” its lodging accommodations.
Verizon’s network will continue to expand to meet the communication needs. Verizon built six new cell sites in the Bakken Oil Field area in the last year: two in Williston, and one new site in Ray, Tioga, Dickinson and Minot as well as adding additional capacity to existing sites.
By bringing the nation’s largest 4G LTE network to the oil area, mobile broadband speeds are joining the rapid growth of the area. It is part of the company’s rapid rollout across the country and infrastructure work continues in North Dakota for future 4G LTE market launches.
Verizon’s lightning-fast 4G LTE is available in 258 markets across the United States, covering more than two-thirds of the U.S. population. In the next seven months, Verizon Wireless will bring its 4G LTE network to more than 140 new markets across the United States. By the end of 2012, the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network will be available to customers in more than 400 markets, spanning 49 states.
*(Bakken oil field area described here as west of Minot to the Montana border, south to Medora and triangulated from Medora back to Minot)