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Verizon launches high speed wireless network across northern Minnesota

Verizon Wireless has expanded the national rollout of its high-speed wireless network to northern Minnesota and northeastern South Dakota in former Unicel-branded market areas.

The network upgrade offers consumers data speeds ten to fifteen times faster then the existing data network.

Verizon Wireless launched network operations and service on January 25 in these market areas, which were acquired through the company's purchase of Rural Cellular Corporation, which operated under the UNICEL brand in Detroit Lakes, in August 2008.

"Our high-speed wireless network gives our customers three key advantages in wireless communication -- speed, mobility and security," said Nancy B. Clark, president-Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. "With these advantages, business customers and mobile professionals can increase productivity and see bottom-line business benefits. In addition, our V CAST services, such as V CAST Music with Rhapsody, help keep customers entertained while on the go -- on the same devices they carry with them every day."

In northern Minnesota, new high-speed network coverage includes the following communities: Alexandria, Bemidji, Brainerd, Baxter, Cloquet, Crookston, Detroit Lakes, Fergus Falls, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, International Falls, Park Rapids, Thief River Falls and Wadena, as well as other locations. In northeastern South Dakota, new service areas include Watertown and its surrounding communities.

Customers in wireless broadband coverage areas can expect average download speeds of 600 kilobits per second (kbps) to 1.4 megabits per second and average upload speeds of 500 kbps to 800 kbps. That means they can download a 1 megabyte email attachment -- the equivalent of a small Powerpoint presentation or a large PDF file -- in about eight seconds and upload the same-sized file in less than 13 seconds.