Verizon announced it is responding to Florida’s exponential and unexpected population increase by allocating an additional $149 million to its local capital spending to meet skyrocketing demands on the network.
From January 2020 to April of this year, more than a quarter of a million of its wireless customers have moved to Florida, and data traffic has spiked, according to the carrier. The company cites that since early 2020, rush-hour traffic in Miami has increased by 364 percent, in Tampa by 135 percent, in Orlando by 408 percent, in West Palm Beach by 165 percent, in Fort Myers by 173 percent, in Collier by 257 percent, and in Glades by 271 percent.
“We are used to seeing seasonal increases in population in Florida and have always accommodated those temporary fluctuations with temporary network assets to add capacity at various times of the year,” said Kyle Malady, EVP and President, Global Networks and Technology. “With the evolution of the distributed workforce resulting from the pandemic, we’re seeing more people permanently change locations to Florida, and other places. Experiencing the impact of this influx, we revised our forecasting models and are pouring additional capital into the state to grow our coverage and capacity to meet the increased demands.”
Massive investments by Verizon in the last two years have added much needed capacity to the network, particularly in the Miami and Tampa markets, where Super Bowl preparation efforts have accelerated network expansions. In 2020 and 2021, Verizon invested over $1 billion in the state of Florida. That investment was used to expand 4G LTE capacity, introduce and grow Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service, prepare for Super Bowls in Tampa and Miami, prepare for Formula One racing in Miami, and support first responders and the community in natural disaster recovery efforts.
The carrier relies on consumer usage growth models to gauge capital investments to try and stay ahead of demand. The increase of more than a quarter million devices has shifted those investment models triggering Verizon’s additional investment of $149 million above and beyond its annual capex to meet the growing needs.
Investments over the next two years will include building more than 3,500 new network solutions including new macro towers, small cell sites and repeaters to increase 4G LTE capacity and coverage. The carrier plans on expanding 5G Ultra Wideband service in areas where 5G currently is and to new markets throughout Florida, expanding the underlying fiber footprint that carries data throughout the network and supporting Floridians and first responders in the upcoming hurricane season.
Verizon said it will also enhance coverage at major population centers and gathering places including Disney World, Orange County Convention Center, and Amalie Arena. Although many of these projects could take 12-24 months to bring online, the company said it is deploying long-term temporary assets to address the demands in the sunshine state.
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