TAMPA, FL — Verizon Wireless announced today that it invested nearly $155 million to further expand and enhance coverage to customers throughout Florida in 2008. The company’s ongoing network investment now totals $1.8 billion in Florida and more than $48 billion nationally since the company was formed.
The company completed enhancements to its 3G high-speed wireless network throughout the state this year, allowing customers to access advanced wireless services more reliably and at even faster broadband speeds. The enhancements, which took nearly two years to complete, entailed installing the most advanced hardware and software on thousands of cell sites in the Verizon Wireless network in Florida, as well as updating and optimizing technology in five Verizon Wireless regional network switching facilities throughout the state.
In addition, Verizon Wireless constructed more than 90 new advanced digital cell sites throughout the state in 2008.
These upgrades help provide high-speed access to advanced services such as V CAST – which allows customers to stream video clips, play cutting-edge 3D games and download full-song tracks over-the-air; and VZ Navigator(SM) – a location-based service offering maps, audible driving directions, traffic updates, gas station locations and pricing.
This technology also enables customers to wirelessly access their e-mail and calendars, the Internet and other information anytime, anywhere via a secure connection with the company’s BroadbandAccess service. BroadbandAccess offers average download speeds of 600 kilobits per second (kbps) to 1.4 megabits per second and upload speeds of 500-800 kbps, which means customers can download a 1 Megabyte attachment—the equivalent of a small PowerPoint® presentation or a large PDF file—in about eight seconds and upload the same-sized file in less than 13 seconds.
Other Florida network facts for 2008 include:
- Verizon Wireless began construction of a high-tech $50 million switching facility in South Florida that will expand and reinforce wireless network capacity and help enhance services for customers throughout the region. The 45,000-square-foot Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO), to be located on five acres in west Broward County, will serve as the main call-processing hub for South Florida, serving an area from Key West to Broward County. It will also serve as the company’s emergency operations center for South Florida during and after significant events like hurricanes.
- A $20 million enhancement project was completed at the company’s Tampa Bay switching facility, which doubled its traffic capacity and back-up power redundancies. The MTSO handles all wireless traffic within the core Tampa Bay area, as well as surrounding areas such as Sarasota, Lakeland and Citrus County. The upgraded facility was built to withstand a Category 5 storm and equipped with large-scale back-up power generation for hurricanes and other special circumstances.
- Verizon Wireless rolled Cells on Wheels (COWs) into position outside the Daytona International Speedway in February, and near Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg in October, to boost wireless coverage for fans, news media and local residents during the Daytona 500 and World Series. The high-tech COWs, each with a 75-foot telescoping antenna, 10 dedicated voice channels and two high-speed data channels, handled hundreds of phone calls and data transmissions simultaneously.
- New digital cell sites were installed to work in conjunction with existing in-building wireless systems at the Renaissance Hotel near International Plaza in Tampa, and The Breakers Hotel and Resort on Palm Beach Island. The Breakers project was carefully designed to preserve the aesthetics of the beachfront historic property and surrounding neighborhoods.
- Three new sites were built in Lake and Marion counties to enhance coverage across the Ocala National Forest and for travelers along State Road 40 from Ormond Beach to Ocala.
- Verizon Wireless activated a new site northwest of Disney’s Animal Kingdom. In addition to serving visitors and staff at the theme park, the site expanded coverage along State Road 429 Expressway and to the Orange Lake Resort & Country Club.
- More than 5.6 billion voice and data transmissions and more than 40 billion minutes of airtime were logged on the Verizon Wireless network in Florida during 2008. Wireless data traffic increased over 51 percent from 2007.
- Verizon Wireless’ network technicians (who serve as the inspiration for the famous TV Test Man ad campaign) traveled more than 100,000 miles across the state this year in special test vehicles equipped with phones, wireless data devices and computers to measure the quality of voice and data calls on the Verizon Wireless network, as well as other carriers’ networks.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 70.8 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 71,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: 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.