TAMPA, FL — With comprehensive preparations near completion for the start of the 2007 hurricane season, Verizon Wireless has rolled its team of Test Men and Test Women across Florida in special vehicles to fine tune its all-digital network and ensure reliable, comprehensive coverage and call quality across the state.
Florida was spared in 2006, but during and after each hurricane throughout the extraordinary storm seasons of 2004 and 2005, the Verizon Wireless network in Florida remained strong, while many other networks struggled to serve residents and emergency response officials.
"We're very proud of our performance and the role we play in emergencies," said Pam Tope, Florida region president of Verizon Wireless. "We're confident we will again provide stand-out reliability everyday and in future emergencies with the great work of our test teams, all of our staff and company-wide preparation."
Additional highlights of the Verizon Wireless 2007 hurricane preparation include:
- The company has developed and practiced a comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers around Florida in the case of a storm or other crisis.
- More than 82 percent of the individual transmission sites operated by Verizon Wireless in Florida have their own on-site generators, many of which were retrofitted this year with expanded fuel tanks to extend their power-generating capacity. This capability is critical when power goes out and if roads are impassable in the wake of a storm.
- The company has a fleet of dozens of Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), that can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity. Network teams also have more than 200 portable generators ready to go to further strengthen the network.
- 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.
- Verizon Wireless is again fully prepared to quickly set up wireless emergency communication centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in the area(s) of greatest need.
- The company has expanded its EV-DO wireless broadband network, including launching its highest-speed Rev. A network across the state. This allows the most advanced wireless services (downloads, location-based applications, video messaging, etc.) and makes the network more robust for usage by residents and emergency agencies. Rev. A technology features typical download speeds of 600 kilobits per second (kbps) to 1.4 megabits and average upload speeds of 500-800 kbps.
- The recent acquisition of two $150,000 disaster response units that can be used as temporary customer service locations in areas impacted by a disaster. Each 35-foot long trailer features advanced communications capabilities and an air-conditioned canopy area, and also provides access to phones, accessories and EV-DO services for residents.
These new technologies, facilities and other network-strengthening efforts are part of an investment exceeding $1.5 billion in the state over the past seven years. Nationally, in that time period, Verizon Wireless has spent more than $37 billion to enhance its digital wireless network.
Editors: Video footage of Verizon Wireless' network preparations is available in the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia.
Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man, visit one of the company's Emergency Command Centers or other technology/facility, contact Chuck Hamby at 813-615-4803.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless voice and data network, serving 60.7 million customers. The largest US wireless company and largest wireless data provider, based on revenues, Verizon Wireless is headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 66,000 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.