NEW ORLEANS — Verizon Wireless network crews and disaster response teams are on alert as Tropical Storm Ida approaches the Gulf Coast. In the event of severe storms, the Verizon Wireless network throughout the region stands ready to deliver reliable wireless coverage and service in the event of severe storms.
The Verizon Wireless network proved its strength last year during 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 Gulf Coast residents and businesses. Since the beginning of last year’s hurricane season, the company has invested over $350 million across the Gulf Coast states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida 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, president – Houston/Gulf Coast region, 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 Tropical Storm Ida, 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 high-speed Evolution-Data Optimized (EV-DO) Revision A (Rev. A) network technology: and forming a Disaster Response Trailer (DRT) mobile customer service unit. In addition, teams of Verizon Wireless test men and women 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 2009 Hurricane Season preparation and network enhancement include:
- A comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers across Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida in case of a crisis.
- Enhancements to its regional switching facilities, which doubled their traffic capacities and back-up power redundancies. Designed to withstand hurricane-force winds, these facilities serve as regional emergency operations centers in the event of a storm.
- A 35-foot $150,000 DRT to be used as a temporary customer service location in areas impacted by a disaster.
- Over 200 new cell sites across the Gulf Coast states since the start of last year’s hurricane season, of which about 85 percent have their own on-site generators.
- A fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWs), 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-arranged 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 the company’s multi-million dollar investment in the region over the past year. Verizon Wireless has invested more than $50 billion nationally since it was formed – $5.5 billion on average every year – to increase the coverage and capacity of its national network and to add new services.
For more information, visit the Verizon Wireless Emergency Information Center at http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/Emergency/Overview.html.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man or Woman, tour a network facility or obtain broadcast-quality video B-roll and still images of network operations/emergency preparations, contact Gretchen LeJeune at 713-219-8028.)
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving 89 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 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.