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Verizon to be first ring from new Boca Grande cell island

December 8, 2023
By Garland Pollard

This week, representatives from T-Mobile and AT&T were on the cell tower site, working to get their equipment installed on the Boca Grande cell tower. Verizon is almost finished with construction work.

That means improved cell service is imminent for Verizon customers, but it still could be over a month away for AT&T and T-Mobile.

“We are on track to deliver service through the replacement tower on the south side of Boca Grande by the end of the year,” said Verizon spokesperson Karen Schulz, a media relations rep from their Global Network & Technology Communications section. She said that the carrier is also working on small cell towers that will “help with coverage and capacity throughout Boca Grande. When these towers come online, they will immediately make use of the additional spectrum the carrier recently received access to.”

According to Stephen E. Raville, who has been monitoring construction for the Boca Grande Cell Tower Committee, Verizon is essentially finished with its install. All that remains is completion of the fiber connection between the Verizon antennas on the tower and with Lumen and CenturyLink, the company that owns the old telephone building and brings telecom service via a fiber optic cable that runs to the island. 

“They get assigned separate circuits,” said Raville. 

Century Link, the former Embarq, is now a subsidiary of the publicly traded Lumen.

Raville said that both AT&T and T-Mobile are on site this week and should have their equipment on the tower this month, though he expected their full service to return later than Verizon.

There are also visual elements that need to be fixed, according to Raville, but these do not affect service. He reports that the block wall that screens the ground equipment from the street will be complete this month. 

Officially, AT&T is promising a February date. “At this time, we expect our cell site to be back on air as soon as late February,” said a spokesman. “We understand the importance of keeping our customers connected and appreciate their patience.”

T-Mobile expects to be operation by the end of the year.

“We expect to finish rebuilding this tower and upgrading it with 5G by the end of the year,” said a spokesman, “which should fully restore service and bring improved coverage and speeds to the island.”