News Release

Verizon Wireless' Network Prepared For Red River Flooding In North Dakota And Minnesota

March 23, 2009

Karen Smith
Karen.Smith@VerizonWireless.com
763-595-2511

FARGO, ND — Flood stages have been reached in parts of the Red River Valley south of Fargo and weather forecasters predict record flooding to reach the Fargo and Moorhead, Minn., areas by Thursday, March 26. Verizon Wireless’ network team has made preparations to its digital network here, ready to deliver reliable wireless coverage and service during the Spring flood season. The company’s network crews and emergency response teams – including many veterans from previous flooding situations – are actively working in affected areas.

Verizon Wireless’ network team has prepared for and is responding to the flood by:

  • Utilizing a comprehensive emergency response plan, including activating an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and performing disaster drills. Additional staffing has been added for 24/7 monitoring of the network.
  • Adding 25 per cent more capacity to individual cell sites as needed in areas where consumers are increasing usage of the network.
  • At the Fargo Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO), which processes all voice and data calls in eastern North Dakota, testing pumps and hoses and reinforcing the permanent 32” dike built into the facility with additional sandbagging. In the event of a commercial power interruption, redundancy is built into the network—the MTSO has a 750-kilowatt generator to sustain commercial power for up to a week and the facility also has battery backup power for up to eight hours.
  • Each cell site in the path of the flooding has been checked by a technician, with fuel added to permanent generators which exist at 97 per cent of cell sites in North Dakota. In addition, all individual cell sites have eight hours of battery backup power in the event of a commercial power interruption.
  • Have a supply of 2,000 sandbags for additional needs. So far, four cell sites have been sandbagged, including one near Kindred, which has been reinforced and now has 1,800 sandbags protecting the cell site.
  • 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 pre-positioned portable cell sites known as Cells on Wheels (COWS) and a Cells on Light Truck (COLTS), and generators on trailers (GOaTS) that can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity.
  • The company has expanded its EV-DO wireless broadband network, including launching its highest-speed Rev. A network throughout the state. 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.

“As we’ve seen in past storm seasons, wireless communication is crucial during an emergency,” said Nancy Clark, president—Great Plains Region, Verizon Wireless. “It is important that we implement a comprehensive plan to make sure the network stays strong and calls go through when and where they’re needed most.”

During the past seven years, Verizon Wireless has spent more than $150 million in North Dakota to strengthen and enhance its wireless network. These kinds of intensive investments and preparations have proven crucial during severe weather events. Verizon Wireless has invested more than $50 billion since it was formed – $5.5 billion on average every year – to expand the coverage and capacity of its premier nationwide network and to add new services.

For more information about Verizon Wireless visit www.verizonwireless.com.

About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network, serving more than 80 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 85,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). For more information, visit 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.

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