|Verizon Rolls Out 4G LTE in 11 Berkshire Towns|
|By Andy McKeever, iBerkshires Staff|
01:02PM / Thursday, August 23, 2012
LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Verizon Wireless has launched 4G LTE in 11 Berkshire towns and many others are slated for upgraded wireless communications service soon.
The company aims to upgrade all its 3G towers in the nation to the newer technology by the end of 2013 and has converted about 70 percent of its towers nationwide.
On Aug. 16, the company launched 4G LTE along Route 7 — in Adams, Great Barrington, Lanesborough, Lee, Lenox, New Ashford, Pittsfield, Richmond, Stockbridge, West Stockbridge and Williamstown — as its first foray into the county.
"This is the initial roll out in Berkshire County," Verizon Spokesman Michael Murphy said on Wednesday. While there is no timeline for the rest of the county, he assured that the company will be rolling out the upgrade soon.
"Plans are definitely under way," he said.
The North Adams Planning Board last week approved changes to a cell tower on the Mohawk Trail to replace four antenna panels with 4G panels and add two more panels for a total of 10.
Murphy said the Route 7 municipalities were chosen first because of contiguous networks that will reach the most people the soonest The technology was also recently launched in Southern Vermont, including in Bennington and Rutland along Route 7.
The work moved quickly for the 11 towns that now have access with only a few months of infrastructure work leading to the launch. The company is "overlaying" its current towers with new technology.
"The planning work has been done months in advanced. The infrastructure was done in the last few months," Murphy said.
The fourth generation "Long Term Evolution" standard is designed to increase the speed and capacity of wireless data transfers and operates on a separate spectrum than 3G.
Murphy characterized the difference between the current towers and the upgrades as 10 times faster. Smartphones, modems and tablets will be served in the beginning but Verizon is currently working with developers to use the technology for more.
"The building blocks of the new economy are digital," Murphy said. "It's a really bright future in the mobile space."
The company started its campaign to upgrade all the towers in December 2010, he said.
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