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Verizon Wireless' broadband blitz

The operator's 3G network, BroadbandAccess, on track to reach half the U.S. population by 2006.

The No. 2 cell phone operator in the United States, Verizon Wireless, said Tuesday that its third-generation wireless Internet service is still on track to be available to half the U.S. population by year's end. The company's BroadbandAccess service is now available to a third of the country, following a recent expansion to more than a dozen cities and airports, according to Verizon spokesman Jeff Nelson.

Operating at 400kbps to 700kbps, BroadbandAccess caters to business clientele paying $80 a month for unlimited use of the network, as well as to devotees of Verizon's V Cast, a cell phone TV and video-on-demand service. Verizon's rapid expansion into 3G wireless is an attempt to exploit the relatively limited reach of the wireless broadband network operated by Cingular Wireless, the nation's No. 1 cell phone operator.