The San Diego City Council is on the brink of a $19 million contract extension with Verizon Wireless despite service strength complaints from customers from North Park to Carlsbad, and even from the city’s own police department.
In August, Mexican phone company ALTAN Redes launched a wireless network along the U.S.-Mexico border. ALTAN’s signal interferes with Verizon customers in the U.S. as far away as Texas.
In some cases, Verizon customers have been given range extenders or told to use international data while the Federal Communications Commission works on a solution with Mexico.
Public documents show SDPD has about 600 Verizon cell phones currently in use while city departments have more than 2,700.
The City Council is considering extending its current Verizon contract for another 5 years. The proposal includes a budget of $19 million for police, fire and other city departments. The question is, what, if anything, will be done about those cell phone lines if the poor service continues?
An SDPD spokesperson said its Verizon lines are primarily for management, supervisors and some detectives. That spokesperson also said they too have noticed a deterioration in cell phone service.
Squad car laptops also use Verizon, but those have not seen a decline in service, according to the spokesperson.
NBC 7 reached out to the mayor’s office and the Department of Information Technology, which put together the proposal with Verizon, but has not heard back.