During October and November, as requested by Town Officials, Staff met with AT&T Mobility & Verizon Wireless representatives to advocate on behalf of residents for improved wireless coverage.
While wireless coverage on the street may be adequate, over the past months Town residents frequently report unreliable wireless device performance within homes and other structures. The majority of problems are reported north of the Palm Beach Country Club to the Inlet and near the Sloan’s Curve area.
Both carriers provided similar self-help recommendations which residents may elect to deploy. These solutions may immediately improve service coverage within a home or other structure and typically require a broadband public internet connection.
1. Enable WIFI calling on an individual phone. AT&T or Verizon subscribers may contact their service provider’s customer service for assistance or self-serve by logging into the carrier’s web site. There are no charges for this feature however, the phone must be capable of WIFI calling and a robust WIFI internet connection must be accessible.
2. Install a wireless repeater or network extender. As an example, AT&T offers a device called “Cell Fi Pro.” It is a repeater type device and may be ordered and billed to an AT&T account. The estimated charge is approximately $500-$750.
3. Deploy a Metrocell or LTE micro cell. These solutions are small, low-power cellular base stations, typically designed for use in large homes or a small business. AT&T or Verizon subscribers may call their respective customer service for assistance or elect to purchase and deploy a device from third parties. The estimated device charges are approximately $3000-$5000 per installation.
The carriers also discussed remediation activities in progress.
Verizon plans to augment capacity in the West Palm Beach area. When complete existing assets west of the Island will be leveraged to improve service for the north area of Palm Beach. Verizon did not provide a firm ETA for these improvements but expected the project to begin in late 2019.
AT&T reported recent cell service degradation resulted from July 2018 demolition activity at the Port of Palm Beach. A Port owned building supporting a 65’ cell tower no longer exists. Today, temporary service is supported by a mobile tower, which was recently increased from 50’ to 58’ to provide additional clearance over a local obstruction. AT&T’s long-term remedy leverages a new 120’ third party owned tower under construction at the Port. AT&T expects the new tower to be ready for service in late March of 2019.
Town of Palm Beach residents should call their wireless carriers directly to report service issues, request support for mobile features or additional home services such as AT&T’s “Cell Fi Pro.”
If you have any questions, please call the Town Manager’s Office at 561-838-5410.