Verizon Wireless launched service in several Eastern North Carolina communities on Monday after spending more than $330 million over the past year to build 280 cell sites that extend coverage to some 1.7 million people.

New market coverage includes Wilmington, Greenville, Rocky Mount, Roanoke Rapids, Goldsboro, New Bern and Jacksonville. The coverage area covers 13,247 square miles.

“Verizon Wireless made history today for it’s the largest ever deployment to reach so many customers at one time,” said Jerry Fountain, Verizon’s Wireless Carolinas/Tennessee region president.