Improper cell coverage disappoints some residents of Lake Wood Ranch. East County

When it comes to cell phone coverage in the Lakewood Ranch area, Carol Weaver, a resident of Rosedale, had a clear explanation that matched other people trying to use their phones in East County.

“Service is the opposite, and you can’t live your life like a normal place,” Weaver said. “You always have to keep it in your head when you’re out and about.”

Carriers have worked to improve service at Lakewood Ranch with the use of smaller cell sites. Verizon spokeswoman Kate Jay said a small cell could extend up to 2,000 feet. Thus, if the small cell sites are located mainly along the main roads, it may be difficult to reach those who live within their neighborhoods. This is where side technology like Range Extender can make a difference.

Local leaders and residents alike say the effort is not enough and there are still problems. Manati County Commissioner Vanessa Bao said she has had problems with her services in the Edgewater community and other areas around Lake Wood Ranch. He pointed out to the carriers that they do not want to keep small cell sites in the community too much.

Waterfront residents point to the three bars of the Randy Burcos service, which is receiving its phone call from Verizon on November 22. He says the service deteriorates as he approaches the Manati / Sarasota county line.

“There is no doubt that this is still a problem,” he said. “The problem is that cell phone towers are not very popular in different neighborhoods. And because of that, the only alternative that has come up is the low cell towers that you see on the side of the road, as you would often call a Leakwood Ranch. Look at Boulevard. They work, but the problem is with the suppliers themselves. So unless you are with a provider that you know is using one of these low cell towers, you Service will not be better.

Verizon has activated 16 4G LTE small cell sites at Lakewood Ranch with a 4G LTE macro site in the city of Myakka since the end of 2020, said Chris Serico, Verizon communications manager.

“At Lakewood Ranch and Micah City, our new sites will provide 4G LTE and 5G nationwide services that will improve both coverage and capability,” he said. “We also plan to expand our regional network with additional sites at Lakewood Ranch and Bradenton.”

About five years ago, the Lake Wood Ranch received some much-needed help. Jim Rogoz, chair of Lakewood Ranch Community District 6, said the USA Crane contacted CDDK 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 about becoming a small cell supplier. USA Cran had plans to build between 13 and 30 sites, but the plan failed when carriers wanted to go their own way to provide technology.

“We were all very happy about it,” Rogos said. “They knew exactly what they would look like, and where they would try to keep them. The most important thing was that no career would work with them.

Rogoz said the issue of small cell sites has become a “backburner” issue for CDDs. Carriers are able to choose where to place sites based on need and then work with the FCC and Manatee County.

“When the other thing broke up, we were all disappointed because it was actually going to be 4G, but it would very easily turn into 5G,” Rogoz said.

Steve Zelensky, interim executive director of the Lakewood Ranch Inter-District Authority, said Lakewood Ranch had been notified that Verizon small cell sites had been launched and were all operational in June. He added that he did not know if there were any further plans for the sites, but said he believed Verizon would continue to monitor and review the requirements.

This did not help Weaver, who said he had no problem with the Verizon service at home but was disappointed as soon as he left. For example, she uses the Starbucks app on her phone to try to place an order on the way to the Main Street Lakewood Ranch, but has no service until she is at the restaurant. It affects his ability to work remotely.

“I would sit in the car when my mother would take the dog for a walk on Main Street, and I would not be able to go on the web nor would I have to make any calls because there is no service,” Weaver said. “You can’t trust it. Sometimes it’s okay, but the next day when something doesn’t work I’ll be stuck.”

Dennis Aquanda said his Verizon service at his home near State Road 70 is very good, but it drops significantly as it approaches Lakewood Ranch Town Hall.

“Most of the time my phone works wonderfully, and that’s important because I don’t have a landline,” said Equinda. “I never really had a problem unless it was something of a regional nature.”

Cheryl Hayes, a Lakewood Ranch resident who is another Verizon customer, said she has difficulty contacting families who live in the area due to static and drop calls.

Located near the entrance to the Lakewood Ranch Country Club on Lake Ranch Boulevard, small cell sites such as the AT&T Money Tower have helped promote cell service in the area.

“There are times when I’m out with my husband and we can’t hold our mother, who is in her 90s,” Hayes said. “I even tried to get a doctor’s appointment and it didn’t work out.”

Hayes also said that her phone works perfectly inside her home, but there are problems when she is out for a walk.

“It’s not always clear,” he said. “I know for a fact that my Verizon is better than others but we need more cell towers. I don’t mind having something that is a little bit more reliable. I can count on it.”

Randy Burko said he has had no problems with his Verizon service in his two years at Waterside. When he tested the signal on his phone on November 24, the signal strength was about 50%. It goes a few miles to the north.

“It looks like it’s getting worse when you enter Manati County,” he said. “I wouldn’t say it’s gotten better. I certainly don’t think it has changed in the last two years.

Spokeswoman Sarah Rodriguez said AT&T considers the community’s aspirations and works with local authorities to find a solution that best meets the needs of its customers. They have two small towers in the area, one about 100 yards from the entrance to Lakewood Ranch Boulevard to Lakewood Ranch Country Club, and at the intersection of Lorraine Road with State Road. A 150-foot monopoly is planned near the southeast corner of the city. 64.

“We understand the importance of keeping our customers connected and we’re constantly looking for ways to improve our networks and provide better service,” Rodriguez said in a statement to The Observer. “From 2018-2020, we invested approximately $ 3.1 billion in our wireless and wireline networks in Florida to expand coverage and improve connectivity in more communities.”

Verizon has plans for more towers along Manati County, including a 200-foot tower near Mika City. He has previously stated that he plans to build a 110-foot cellphone tower, which will be located at 111th Street East, behind Public in Lake Wood Ranch Boulevard and SR70. The cell tower is expected to be operational in 2022 and may have a coverage of about two miles depending on factors such as radius, terrain and number of subscribers.

Louis Morales struggles to load a YouTube video for his daughter Zara as they enjoy the Main Street Lakewood Ranch. Morales said it has been dealing with a conflicting service with T-Mobile for five years.

The Monte County Commission will review further plans for a 150-foot monopoly cell tower, in addition to a pre-approved mini-warehouse / self-storage facility near the southeast corner of Lorraine Road and State Road 64, on December 2. ۔ .

“Verizon continues to build, upgrade and strengthen our wireless network in Lakewood Ranch, Myakka City and beyond,” Serico said. “Our network engineers have confirmed to me that our network is running according to design. Continuing. “

Baugh said the new cell towers are generally administratively approved by Manatee County and it is unusual for them to reach commission level.

“It’s not a county issue,” Bo said. “A lot of people think it is … but it’s not. The problem is that if a career doesn’t come forward and wants service at Lakewood Ranch, it doesn’t happen. They want to do it. You just have to. Cell phone towers don’t work and all of a sudden you get the service. That’s not how it works. “

Serico also encourages Verizon customers to contact the carrier’s customer service line if they have concerns about their service or need a range extender for their home.

T-Mobile completed its merger with Sprint a year ago. Louis Morales of Lakewood Ranch said the merger did not affect his service much. He said that when he is in other parts of Lakewood Ranch, he has trouble with the reception.

“No problem at home (off State Road 64), but when I start driving on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard, ‘Oh man, it’s just up and down,'” he said. “Once you get down from LECOM (on Lakewood Ranch Boulevard), it’s over. It’s not compatible. I’ve spent five years dealing with this inconsistency.

T-Mobile spokeswoman Roni Singleton said Carrier has 4G and 5G coverage in parts of Lakewood Ranch and is working hard to increase both coverage and capacity.

“We’re also working to upgrade community service sites with Ultra Capacity 5G, which will help provide faster speeds,” he said.

When told that the carriers intended to use smaller cell sites and build more towers, Morales was not optimistic.

“Seeing this happen, we can be sure that they are actually building more towers,” Morales said.

Bao had even stronger words for careers.

“For the rest of my life, I can’t understand why these providers don’t come to the best-selling community in the United States,” he said. “You think they all want to stay out of here, but that’s not what I’m collecting. So it’s up to the supplier. I don’t think there’s a better solution. I’ve heard, so it’s just one of the things we have to deal with AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile and all that. Different carriers decide they want to stay out of here.

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