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November 21, 2014

EN ESPA

Mega-state, Mega-opportunities

Meeting today’s energy challenges while preserving the environment for tomorrow.

John M. Dunn | 10/1/2007

Telecommunications


“Florida has a robust competitive market in telecommunications.”

Dr. Mark Jamison
Public Utility Research Center

While Florida’s growing demand for communi-cations systems puts a strain on energy supplies, it also broadens the telecommunications options available to businesses. “Because of its high-density population, a diverse level of business activity and a wide choice of wireless providers, Florida has a robust competitive market in telecommunications,” says Dr. Mark Jamison, director of the Public Utility Research Center at the University of Florida.

It’s also a changing market. Both the state’s 10 incumbent local exchange companies (ILECs) and the 396 competitive local exchange companies (CLECs) saw a dip in their residential access land lines and residential market shares in 2006. Part of the decline can be attributed to regulatory changes that make it easier to bundle telecommunications services in Florida. But the drop in the number of land lines also reflects a modest shift toward wireless and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service providers statewide.



Trends: Telecom

  • Florida has approximately 12.5 million wireless subscribers, according to the Florida Public Service Commission’s latest report.

  • Forbes.com picked Orlando as the nation’s 2nd best place in “broadband adoption” based on public wireless Internet access and number of users with high-speed connections.

  • Sprint Nextel has spent nearly $530 million in 2006—2007 to boost its statewide mobile wireless network with new cell sites and other enhancements.

  • Verizon will spend $500 million through 2010 to expand its existing fiber optics network in Florida; so far, the company has also invested $1.5 billion on its wireless system.

  • AT&T, Verizon, Cox Cable and Bright House continue to bundle communication services in Florida. EMBARQ, a spinoff from Sprint Nextel, is integrating its wireline and wireless services so customers can easily move between the two for voice, long-distance, wireless and high-speed data transmission.

Hurricane Readiness

Florida’s utilities continue “hardening” their equipment in an effort to minimize the impact of possible land-falling storms on the lives of business owners and residents.

  • Gulf Power, a subsidiary of Southern Company serving Florida’s Northwest region, has installed a state-of-the-art underground delivery system at Pensacola Beach. The new system includes power lines housed in concrete ducts, stainless steel equipment resistant to corrosion and underground switches sealed in concrete enclosures.

  • FP&L reports that it will likely spend up to $205 million on hurricane hardening of equipment and delivery systems to better serve its 44 million customers.

  • Progress Energy Florida is investing $91 million to storm harden and maintain its system, plus another $25 million to keep vegetation cut away from power lines; an additional $8 million will be spent replacing 500 wooden power poles with steel poles.

  • TECO is replacing poles and beefing up substation maintenance; the company has also increased the size of its Trouble
    Department by 15% to clear vegetation near power lines.

Telecommunications companies are taking pre-storm actions, too.

  • Sprint recently invested $115 million in Florida’s coastal areas to install extra generators and portable “cell-wheels” to protect the company’s wireless sites and network facilities.

  • EMBARQ has added $10 million to its expenditures during the past two years to replace equipment destroyed or damaged by recent hurricanes.

Tags: North Central, Energy & Utilities, Environment, Business Florida

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