The next generation of high-speed wireless communication is coming to Beaufort County.
Verizon announced this week plans to bring its 4G Long Term Evolution network to Hilton Head Island and surrounding areas as part of a push into 140 new markets this year. Other carriers say they plan to bring their versions of the technology to the area, too.
Verizon says its technology promises data speeds 10 times faster than today's 3G networks and comparable to those of a computer plugged into a digital subscriber line. That should allow consumers with 4G-capable devices, such as mobile phones and tablet and notebook computers, to surf the Internet faster, compete in multi-player games, chat via real-time video and conduct business on the go, according to the company.
"This network revolution marks a new era in wireless communications with faster connections and endless possibilities for both consumers and businesses," Jerry Fountain, Verizon Wireless' president for the Carolinas, said in a news release.
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Verizon launched the technology in 38 metropolitan areas and more than 60 airports last year. The company expects the expansion it announced this week to provide 4G coverage on Hilton Head and Daufuskie islands and in Moss Creek, Bluffton, Rose Hill, the Buckwalter Parkway area, Sun City Hilton Head, Pritchardville and in Jasper County.
Other carriers planning to bring 4G to the area include:
It's not clear whether local consumers, who have long complained about cell phone coverage on and around Hilton Head, can expect better coverage with 4G's arrival.
Representatives for AT&T and T-Mobile said 4G probably won't enhance coverage for consumers already experiencing difficulties.
Verizon spokeswoman Karen Schulz said her company's technology will operate on a lower frequency than competitors and should provide better penetration inside buildings than the Verizon's current network.