ALPENA — Verizon Wireless said Wednesday that it has completed its $850,000 upgrade of 450 antennas on all of its cell sites between the Saginaw Bay north to the Mackinaw Bridge and east of I-75 to Lake Huron.

The company reports the new antenna equipment has resulted in incremental network coverage gains of up to one mile, improving overall reliability for customers.

The last tower to receive new equipment is in Roscommon, where a nest of osprey chicks had called home since March.

As a result of the project, Verizon Wireless also reports the network has experienced a 10 percent increase in overall traffic month over month for the area. Upgrading cell site antennas is the final phase of bringing the former Alltel network up to Verizon Wireless’ standards.

“Our customers in eastern northern Michigan are able to use their devices in more places, especially in buildings,” explained David MacBeth, network executive director for Verizon Wireless’ Michigan-Indiana-Kentucky region. “We’re constantly refining our network to ensure our customers have the best experience every time they pick up their wireless device.”

The company’s ongoing network investment in Michigan now totals more than $1.6 billion. Nationally, Verizon Wireless has invested more than $60 billion since it was formed — $5.7 billion on average every year — to increase the coverage and capacity of its premier nationwide network and to add new service

In Michigan, Verizon Wireless has more than 2,100 employees and 65 company-owned retail locations in more than 50 cities. Nationally, the company serves 106.3 million total wireless connections, including 89.7 million retail customers.

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