Iowa City gets broadband boost

Verizon Wireless pushed up the introduction of its broadband wireless service in Iowa City by a couple of weeks to provide high-speed Internet access to the University of Iowa and public safety agencies battling floods.

'We've been doing phased rollouts across the country,' said Verizon Wireless spokeswoman Karen Smith. 'Iowa City was slated to be turned up June 30.'

But the university, with some of its buildings inundated, was worried about losing Internet connectivity and asked for help, she said. Much of the upgrade work had already been done at cell sites and switches so testing and turning up were rushed ahead.

'Our network team has worked around the clock to upgrade this service ahead of schedule because of the need for mobile communications services,' said Nancy Clark, Verizon Wireless president f the Great Plains region. 'We also were able to activate a new cell site near Kinnick Stadium ahead of schedule to further support wireless communications.'

The company also has donated phones and USB modems to emergency personnel and relief organizations in Iowa.

Iowa City, about 25 miles south of Cedar Rapids, is on the Iowa River and has been hit hard by floods resulting from several waves of storms and heavy rains. The high-speed network was already deployed in Cedar Rapids and other areas of Iowa.

The high-speed service is built on Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Revision A network technology, which is based on the Code Division Multiple Access cellular standard. It enables IP services via cellular systems and provides a theoretical peak of 2.4 Mbps via a cellular system, although real-world throughput is in the 300- to 800-Kbps range. Verizon Wireless said speeds for its BroadbandAccess mobile EV-DO service provides download speeds of about 600 Kbps with bursts as high as 1.4 Mbps and slightly lower speeds for uploads.

The networks also support V CAST, a consumer-oriented multimedia service available on enabled handsets.

About the Author

William Jackson is a Maryland-based freelance writer.

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