HOUSTON, TX — In the wake of Hurricane Gustav, Verizon Wireless continues to dispatch teams of network technicians and generators to impacted areas in Louisiana.
While 90 percent of the Verizon Wireless Gulf Coast network is up and running, technicians are now working to restore cell sites into service and to deploy mobile transmission units to boost network capacity in areas where residents and rescue workers must rely on wireless communications in the storm’s wake. In addition, network teams pre-deployed COWs (Cells on Wheels), COLTs (Cells on Light Trucks) and several dozen mobile generators to strengthen the network in the Gulf Coast.
Verizon Wireless Provides Emergency Service
Verizon Wireless is also preparing to quickly set up Wireless Emergency Communication Centers (WECCs) to serve residents and rescue agencies in the areas of greatest need. Residents who have lost landline phone service and/or coverage from their wireless carriers may also visit a local Verizon Wireless Communications Store to make free phone calls and charge their wireless phones.
To aid in emergency operations, Verizon Wireless also has provided hundreds of phones to government agencies, emergency organizations and shelters in the Gulf Coast and surrounding evacuation cities.
“Our solid network performance during and after Hurricane Gustav was strong as expected,” said Kay Henze, Houston/Gulf Coast region president for Verizon Wireless. “We prepare year-round for severe weather. Verizon Wireless has the nation’s most reliable wireless network, and our advance preparation for any situation is a key component of our reliability.”
Hurricane Preparedness Efforts
Since the beginning of the year, Verizon Wireless has spent more than $137 million in the Gulf Coast region to strengthen and enhance its wireless network. 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.
- Erected 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.
- 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, Verizon Wireless has invested an average of $5.5 billion annually to enhance its digital wireless network and a total of more than $45 billion since 2000.
(Editor’s Note: To obtain broadcast-quality video B-Roll and still images of network operations/emergency preparations, visit the Verizon Wireless Multimedia Library at www.verizonwireless.com/multimedia or 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.