FARGO, ND — The Verizon Wireless network team has prepared its voice and 3G network to provide reliable service for the Spring flood season in eastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota. The National Weather service has predicted that the primary crest of the Red River in the Fargo-Moorhead area will be this Sunday, April 10.
Verizon Wireless has provided more than 350 phones to emergency personnel including the North Dakota National Guard and the Minnesota National Guard. Hundreds more phones and 3G USB modems have been shipped to the area for rapid deployment to emergency responders.
The company activated a temporary cell site, or Cell on Wheels (COW), in Oakport, Minn. near Wall Street Avenue North and Second Street North at the request of the city to enhance the coverage and capacity of its wireless voice and data network in this area.
In anticipation of increased wireless usage, the Verizon Wireless network team also added twenty-five per cent more capacity to cell sites in the following communities: Fargo, Grand Forks, Warsaw and Wahpeton, N.D. along the Red River; in Hillsboro and Mayville, N.D. along the Goose River; and in Crookston, Minn. along the Red Lake River.
To provide reliable coverage to the city of Moorhead’s Open Volunteers Center, Verizon Wireless’ network team installed an in-building system to enhance the wireless coverage at Nemzeck Hall on the Minnesota State University-Moorhead campus.
The network teams flood preparations also includes the following:
- 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.
- At the Fargo Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO), that processes all voice and data calls in eastern North Dakota, pumps and hoses have been tested. The network team is prepared to reinforce the permanent 32” dike built into the facility with additional sandbagging as necessary. 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 the 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.
- A supply of 5,000 sandbags is available for network use.
- Fuel delivery to mobile units and generators has been pre-arranged to keep the network operating at full strength even if power is lost for an extended period of time.
“As we’ve seen in past storm seasons, wireless communication is crucial during an emergency,” said Seamus Hyland, 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.”
From 2000 to 2010, Verizon Wireless has invested more than $183 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 $65 billion since it was formed – $6 billion on average every year – to increase the coverage and capacity of its premier nationwide network and to add new services.
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About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s fastest and most advanced 4G network and largest and most reliable 3G network, and serves more than 94 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 82,000 employees nationwide, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ) and Vodafone (LSE, NASDAQ: 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.