PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Verizon has just announced it’s officially turning the power on to 5G in Panama City. It’s part of a 25-million-dollar investment plan to aid the city in Hurricane Michael recovery.
When the storm hit last year and the company’s local network failed, thousands of residents were left without a means of communication.
Verizon has faced a lot of local backlash since then. But CEO Ronan Dunne says it was a learning curve.
“You know, when the community here took a very tough blow, we at Verizon took a very tough blow,” he said. “We have built our reputation on being there to support people in a crisis, and we absolutely did run to the crisis. But our network was completely destroyed, and it took us longer to rebuild it than we would have liked.”
City manager of Panama City, Mark McQueen, was present at Verizon’s announcement ceremony this morning at the Bay County Government Building.
“Verizon to their credit realized that they didn’t have everything in place that they should have, and as a result, they made a commitment, a tangible commitment from the highest levels of their organization to come back, not only rebuilding a network, but to make it better,” McQueen said.
Panama City is one of the first cities in Florida connected to a 5G network. It’s available in parts of downtown Panama City, Forest Park and Lower Grand Lagoon in Panama City Beach.
Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband service has just reached Boise and New York City as well, making it currently available in 13 cities in the United States. But the company plans to reach 30 by the end of the year.