HAMPTON ROADS, Va. (WAVY) – Verizon said it has finished major upgrades to its Hampton Roads network, part of a multi-year redesign of its network architecture.

It said it will allow them “to stay ahead of exponential data usage increases, upgrade the technology in the network, and to pave the way for personalized customer experiences.”

The network upgrades in Hampton Roads include adding new cell sites to extend coverage and capacity in local communities, adding more capacity on fiber optic cables to move more data through its network, as well as adding bandwidth to its cell network to allow for new services such as wireless internet for homes and businesses.

Specifically, the company said its upgrades included:

  • “Engineers have deployed 5G Ultra Wideband service using Millimeter Wave (mmWave), its premium, high-band spectrum which allows for extremely fast speeds and massive capacity as well as C-band spectrum designed for fast speeds, high capacity and wide coverage. With the recent deployments and upgrades, 91% of people in Hampton Roads now have access to 5G service from Verizon. Verizon Engineers have deployed 5G Ultra Wideband service using its C-band spectrum designed for high capacity and wide coverage and its premium mmWave spectrum. Most notably, Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service throughout Virginia Beach, Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Newport News, Hampton, York County and Poquoson, as well as areas including Lynnhaven Mall, the Greenbrier shopping area of Chesapeake, Peninsula Town Center in Hampton, NASA Langley Research Center, and the Newport News City Center.
  • “These deployments used Verizon’s recently acquired C-band spectrum, designed to provide wide coverage for 5G service. Throughout Hampton Roads, Verizon engineers are using 60 MHz of C-band spectrum to deliver 5G service to customers. By the end of the year, customers in Hampton Roads will be able to take advantage of nearly three times that amount of spectrum as it becomes available for 5G Ultra Wideband. That additional bandwidth will turbo charge the service, offering significantly higher speeds, much greater capacity to accommodate more customers and more robust services
  • “Lastly, the addition of 5G service and the many additional wireless solutions allow far more data to travel on the wireless network in Hampton Roads. That exponential increase in data carried into and out of the cell sites serving the community requires upgraded fiber optic cable links. Fiber optic cables are used to move data between cell sites and connect those sites to the rest of the network. Verizon has increased the capacity on the fiber connections in many cell sites in the Hampton Roads area so they can carry 10 times the amount of data.”

“Our network engineers work tirelessly to ensure we can provide the most reliable connections across Hampton Roads,” said Verizon vice president of network engineering and operations Kevin Smith. “We will continue to unlock the power of 5G for our customers with better connectivity for their phones, homes and businesses, as part of our ongoing commitment to this community.”

The upgrades, according to the company, will allow its customers to use more data in more ways, such as through their smartphones, improving home and business connectivity or through augmented reality or enterprise real-time video and data analysis.

Verizon said as 5G technology evolves and used by more people, “the variety of solutions that will use Verizon’s network will continue to evolve as well.”

It said Hampton Roads customers have seen its median download speed go up by 22% since last year, and the added coverage and capacity means people can access faster and more reliable mobile service, but also Verizon home internet service with no data caps.

It also offers Verizon Frontline, developed in partnership with first responders to meet their needs, and Hampton Roads businesses have access to 5G business internet powered by 5G ultra wideband.