AT&T completes $3.3 billion mobile network upgrade
Due to the increasing amount of phone numbers, the 850 may be split with a new area code.

The project expanded networks into both rural and urban areas.

AT&T is wrapping up a three-year project that is enhancing wireless connectivity throughout Florida.

The project began in 2017 and cost $3.3 billion for work in South Florida, Central Florida, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville, an AT&T news release said Tuesday.

AT&T officials said they spent $1 billion in the area between West Palm Beach and Miami alone. Another $425 million was spent on the Orlando area; $200 million on the Tampa Bay area; and another $300 million on the Jacksonville area.

In all, an additional 55 cellular sites were added to transmit mobile communications in Florida. There was also an additional antenna system added for both indoor and outdoor mobile coverage expansion.

“We know that our continued investment in Florida is vital to keeping people connected — from public safety personnel during a crisis to friends, family and loved ones on a daily basis,” said AT&T Florida  President Joe York.

The project also expanded high-speed internet access throughout the state for AT&T customers. AT&T crews added some 1.3 million additional fiber optic connections throughout Florida.  That included improvements to the “FirstNet” network, which was established for first responders.

The FirstNet network is not limited to just larger metropolitan areas in Florida. AT&T set out to extend that network into all counties in Florida including rural areas for more mobile reach between law enforcement and emergency agencies.

It’s not only for connection between Florida counties and agencies, but FirstNet also allows all state first responders to tap into nationwide networks for planned events or for emergencies, AT&T officials said. The company is also offering free smart phones for life for first responders who use the network.

AT&T also linked into the Federal Communications Commission’s Connect America Fund, which is a universal service program targeted for more rural areas. The fund included the participation of 20 rural Florida counties which enables internet access in more remote areas.

Drew Dixon

Drew Dixon is a journalist of 40 years who has reported in print and broadcast throughout Florida, starting in Ohio in the 1980s. He is also an adjunct professor of philosophy and ethics at three colleges, Jacksonville University, University of North Florida and Florida State College at Jacksonville. You can reach him at [email protected].


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