HOUSTON — Verizon Wireless network crews and disaster response teams are on alert as Hurricane Ike approaches the Texas Coast. In the event of severe storms, the Verizon Wireless digital network throughout the region stands ready to deliver reliable wireless coverage and service.
The strength of the Verizon Wireless network delivered recently in the wake of Hurricane Gustav. Within 24 hours after the storm, test drive results indicated the network was up and running at nearly 100 percent. In one of the hardest hit areas – Houma, La. – test drive results within 48 hours after the storm, revealed a call completion rate of 100 percent.
Verizon Wireless Prepares By Investing
The company prepares year round for severe weather with extensive investments and efforts to prepare its network for emergencies and provide the most reliable ongoing wireless service for Houston/Gulf Coast residents and businesses. Since the beginning of the year, the company has invested more than $137 million throughout the region to strengthen and enhance its wireless network.
“Preparing the network for inclement weather is a year-round, deliberate process at Verizon Wireless and a key component in our network reliability,” said Kay Henze, Houston/Gulf Coast region president for Verizon Wireless. “Our relentless focus on reliability and severe weather preparedness ensures our network stays strong and calls go through when and where they’re needed most. We are prepared for Hurricane Ike, alert and ready to respond.”
Highlights of these long-term enhancements include expanding and enhancing regional switching facilities, erecting new digital cell sites with on-site back-up power, expanding the company’s Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) highest-speed Revision A (Rev. A) network technology, and completing a Disaster Response Trailer (DRT) mobile customer service unit. In addition, teams of Verizon Wireless “test men” have been rolling across the region in a fleet of specialized test vehicles to fine tune the network and ensure reliable, comprehensive coverage in preparation for this storm season, as they do throughout the year.
Comprehensive Hurricane Prep Plans
Additional highlights of the Verizon Wireless 2008 Hurricane Season preparation and network enhancement include:
- A comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers across Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida in the case of a crisis.
- Enhancements to its regional switching facilities, which doubled its traffic capacity and back-up power redundancies. Many are designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane and serve as regional emergency operations centers in the event of a storm.
- A new 35-foot $150,000 Disaster Response Trailer to be used as a temporary customer service location in areas impacted by a disaster.
- Erecting 59 new cell sites across the Houston/Gulf Coast region since the start of the year, of which about 85 percent have their own on-site generators.
- The company also has a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), and Generators on Trailers (GOaTs) that can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity.
- Pre-arranging fuel delivery to mobile units and generators to keep the network operating at full strength even if power is lost for an extended period of time.
- The company has expanded its EV-DO wireless broadband network, including launching its highest-speed Rev. A network throughout the region. This allows the most advanced wireless services (downloads, location-based applications, video messaging, etc.) and makes the network more reliable for usage by residents and emergency agencies.
These new technologies, facilities and other network-strengthening efforts are part of our hefty multi-million dollar investment in the region over the past year. Nationally, in a one-year time period, Verizon Wireless has spent about $5.5 billion to enhance its digital wireless network, and more than $45 billion since 2000.
(Editor’s Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man, tour a network facility or obtain broadcast-quality video B-Roll and still images of network operations/emergency preparations, contact Gretchen LeJeune at 713-204-2100).
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 68.7 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 70,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, go to: 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.