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Verizon names Panama City one of the first to get 5G after facing backlash over Hurricane Michael response

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Florida Gov. Rick Scott has publicly rebuked Verizon for its slow response to Hurricane Michael.

Verizon's recovery in the Panhandle from Hurricane Michael has been nothing short of a mess, with its rivals recovering faster and Gov. Rick Scott and others publicly berating the carrier's slow response.

To make up for it, Verizon is throwing hard-hit Panama City a bone: It announced this week that the city would be one of the first five in the nation to get its next-generation 5G network.

Panama City is joining Los Angeles, Houston, Sacramento and Indianapolis in getting the service, which promises download speeds many times faster than traditional 4G LTE.

"This is about helping Panama City rebuild better than ever," Verizon spokeswoman Kate Jay said.

Panama City would become the first city in Florida to get 5G, but the details are thin.

The service might just be Verizon's in-home 5G service, which is meant to replace your traditional home Wi-Fi, albeit with superfast speeds. The other four cities got that service this month.

But the service could be over Verizon's cell towers, like a traditional cellular network. That's cutting-edge technology that the carrier doesn't expect to start rolling out until 2019 (other carriers are racing to roll out 5G as well). No phones currently sold are equipped to use 5G cellular technology.

When asked which service Panama City might get, Jay said, "Stay tuned on that, as we work to finalize our plans."

Whatever service Panama City gets, it won't be until 2019.

Verizon said it suffered "unprecedented" damage to its network after the Category 4 storm made landfall, and it's taken two weeks for the network to recover.

Over that time, it was subjected to multiple rebukes in press conferences and on Twitter by Scott and CFO Jimmy Patronis, who's from Panama City.

"We've put a lot of food and water out all across the state," Scott told the press a few days after the storm. "Well, if you have no internet and you have no cellphone, it's hard to get the information out. AT&T is working there, but Verizon is not."

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