FARGO, ND — Forecasters predict record flooding this week with the Red River expected to crest in the Fargo, N.D., and Moorhead, Minn., area by this Saturday, March 20. Verizon Wireless’ network team has made preparations to its voice and 3G network here, ready to deliver reliable wireless coverage and service during the Spring flood season.
The company has provided nearly 300 phones to the North Dakota National Guard, the Minnesota National Guard and the City of Fargo. Hundreds more phones and 3G USB modems have been shipped to the area for rapid deployment to emergency responders.
Verizon Wireless’ network team installed an in-building system to enhance the wireless coverage at Nemzeck Hall on the Minnesota State University-Moorhead campus yesterday. The campus building is an Open Volunteers Center for the city and is also being used by the Moorhead Police Department.
The companys’ 3G wireless broadband network allows the most advanced wireless services (downloads, location-based applications, video messaging, etc.) and provides more reliable usage by residents and emergency agencies.
Verizon Wireless’ network team has prepared for the flooding 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), 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.
- The company has pre-positioned a portable cell site, known as a Cell on Wheels (COW), in the area with two other temporary sites ready for deployment if necessary. Generators on trailers (GOaTS) can also be rolled into hard-hit locations to provide emergency power.
“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.”
During the past eight years, Verizon Wireless invested more than $166 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 $55 billion since it was formed to increase the coverage and capacity of its premier nationwide network and to add new services. In 2009 alone, the company invested $7 billion to expand and advance its network.
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About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and 3G data network, serving more than 91 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 83,000 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.