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Verizon now hopes to go live on Shores cell tower in April

Photo: Photo of the Indian River Shores cell tower.

Verizon cellphone customers heading back to their northern homes for tax deadlines or for Easter will have to wait until next season to experience smooth data service and clear phone calls while inside their homes and traveling on the barrier island.

Last week, Curt Jones, who heads up Datapath Tower, the Town of Indian River Shores’ business partner on the town’s new cell tower, said equipment needed to provide upgraded service to Verizon customers was on the way, and would likely have arrived by the time this issue of Vero Beach 32963 reaches mailboxes.

“Verizon Wireless did redirect assets from another site and shipped them to Florida to use on the Indian River Shores site,” Jones said. “Equipment is being delivered this week and installation will occur over the next few weeks. Then, Verizon Wireless needs to commission the site and optimize it, so by the third or fourth week of April, it should be live.”

Town Manager Joe Griffin confirmed that Jones’ estimate matches the latest information provided to the town.

The town’s multiyear effort to get good cell service was delayed yet again, after many previous delays, when cell tower equipment damaged in shipping in December had to be remade. Town officials updated residents on Jan. 25 about the issue, saying that after picking up the equipment and finding it to be damaged, the construction crew from E.M. Enterprises General Contractors Inc. had to return the damaged components.

When asked about scattered reports by AT&T customers of spotty service since AT&T’s equipment on the tower went live in September, Jones said, “The AT&T site is operational and don’t believe there is any technical issue I am aware of.”