The company announced it will be adding the city to the list of national 5G front-runners.
(TNS) — Following Hurricane Michael's devastating effects on Verizon's cellphone coverage, company officials have promised Panama City Mayor Greg Brudnicki they will make a $25 million investment in the region.
The company, Brudnicki said, has committed to creating a 5G network in Bay County, allowing for download speeds 1000 times faster than the 4G network that was previously in place. Panama City will be one of five announced Verizon 5G cities, joining Los Angeles, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento.
"With that kind of commitment, they are saying they want to help us do something good," Brudnicki said.
Verizon will be spending the majority of the money in 2019, and will have the greatest impact and Bay and Gulf Counties.
"As the community rebuilds, Verizon will be your strong partner," said Verizon's technology leader Kyle Malady in a press release. "That's why we're committing $25 million to build the most technologically advanced wireless network in the area. We will include 5G technology as part of that infrastructure."
In addition to improving service in the area, the new network would make help the city to entice businesses that rely on advanced communication systems and also present opportunities to potentially upgrade the technology in the schools, Brudnicki said.
Verizon provides cellphone services to an estimated 80 percent of Bay County,which created a major logistical challenge when the storm badly damaged the company's infrastructure leaving thousands without phone service for days.
As Mayor Greg Brudnicki put it, "it really upped the misery index" as people found themselves unable to connect with loved ones or make business calls. It also created a problems for government agencies that contract with Verizon.
The company has promised customers three months of free service following the inconvenience. The 5G network is the latest peace offering.
©2018 The News Herald (Panama City, Fla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.