IRVINE, CA — Many southern Californians were evacuated from their homes during the recent rampage of wild fires, and depended heavily on their cell phones to keep in touch with friends and family. Verizon Wireless has been committed to providing reliable communications services throughout the crisis, and is continuing to help customers with their needs.
"The devastation and chaos caused by these fires has been enormous, affecting many of our customers" said John Palmer, Verizon Wireless Southern California regional president. "We're doing what we can to make it a bit easier for people whose lives have been turned upside down to get back on their feet." For example, the company is providing flexibility on bill payments for customers impacted by the fires, including adding minutes and extending expiration dates on prepaid accounts.
None of Verizon Wireless' cell sites were destroyed by fire. The network has been operating at normal performance levels for days. The company used alternate routes and alternate technology to restore connectivity to isolated sites, continues to use generators to power sites lacking commercial power and is working towards permanent restoration.
The Verizon Wireless network is built for reliability in emergencies with redundancy capabilities in place to help maintain services for customers when they need it most.
- All facilities have battery back-up power and for additional reliability, generators installed at all switching facilities, and many cell site locations.
- The company also owns a fleet of portable generators that can be deployed to provide emergency power during extended power outages to those cell sites without permanent generators.
- Verizon Wireless also operates a fleet of "Cell on Wheels" (COWs) and "Cell on Light Truck" (COLTs), which are fully functional, generator-powered mobile cell sites that enhance coverage and capacity in a given area. A COW or COLT can accommodate both voice and CDMA data services.
Verizon Wireless employees continue to staff key evacuation sites, offering free wireless phone calls and Internet access, as well as battery recharging stations. The company has four Cell on Light Trucks (COLTs) at fire command centers and has donated hundreds of phones and BroadbandAccess cards to agencies for use in emergency response.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 63.7 million customers. The largest U.S. wireless company and largest wireless data provider, based on revenues, Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 68,000 employees nationwide. The company is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at www.verizonwireless.com. To preview and request broadcast-quality video footage and high-resolution stills of Verizon Wireless operations, log on to the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.