NEW YORK - Forecasters say there is a 70 percent chance that one of eight Atlantic hurricanes will strike somewhere on the East Coast between now and the end of November. Should that occur, Verizon is committed to keeping its customers connected with traditional landline and wireless voice service, data links, video connections, the Internet, and the complex systems that serve businesses and governments.
"Networked information, more than ever, drives and sustains living in our country and in our world," said Richard J. Lynch, Verizon executive vice president and chief technology officer. "Over the decades and into the emerging technologies of modern times, we've born the responsibility to maintain these critical services in all kinds of adverse conditions. That duty has never been more serious, and we've never been more ready."
From the terrestrial, wireless and global networks to incident response teams responsible for classes of customers and types of service, readiness runs broad and deep at Verizon.
Network-Based Service Factors
The core Verizon network that supports consumer and small-business, enterprise and government services and the land-based links that carry wireless traffic from cell site to cell site are more robust than ever. The backbone and distribution facilities are virtually all fiber-optic-based. Fiber brings an extraordinary level of reliability because it requires fewer electronically powered elements that are exposed to weather and thus to the devastating effect of water on electronic circuits and hardware. In addition, the core network is designed with multiple levels of redundant circuits, where traffic can travel down two distinct paths; so if one path is disabled, the other takes over.
Real-time network management also enables voice, data and video traffic to be re-routed around trouble spots, or routed into impacted areas on alternate routes.
Verizon networks are overseen by control centers, where voice, data and video traffic is managed and where instant troubleshooting is enabled. In addition, Verizon Wireless maintains a business continuity plan to coordinate critical business functions that arise during crises. Verizon Business will manage any hurricane-related issues on behalf of its customer base through its National Emergency Coordination Center (NECC) in Richardson, Texas, and through several regional Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) of trained communications technicians who can respond anywhere in the Verizon Business network's service area when a disaster strikes.
Verizon Business also maintains the industry's first environmental response team. The Major Emergency Response Incident Team (MERIT) is specially trained for rapid deployment to deal with hazardous materials emergencies involving or threatening Verizon Business' employees, critical telecommunications facilities or infrastructure, or other company assets.
Finally, Verizon maintains emergency operations center capability so that key decision-makers from all areas of the business, including Verizon Wireless and Verizon Business, can convene and work 24 x 7 during crises to communicate directly, make deployment decisions and promote fast, effective recovery performance.
The massive computerized switching systems that route and deliver calls and files over Verizon's wireline network have three sources of power, ensuring redundancy. Every system can run on commercial power, direct current batteries the size of steamer trunks all wired together, or on diesel-powered generators. Each backup system picks up the load flawlessly if commercial power goes out, ensuring uninterrupted service.
The Verizon Wireless network has battery backup power at all facilities. For additional reliability, there are generators at all switching facilities and many cell site locations. The company also owns a fleet of portable generators that can be deployed to provide emergency power during extended power outages to those cell sites without permanent generators.
In addition, hundreds of new digital cell sites have been erected during the past year, about 85 percent of which have their own on-site generators and new expanded fuel tanks to extend their power-generating capacity.
Network crews for Verizon's wireline network can be mobilized from any part of the country and dispatched in caravans to impacted areas, as has happened in numerous storm situations, to rebuild facilities and reconnect customers.
Verizon Wireless has new 35-foot $150,000 Disaster Response Trailers, which can be used as temporary customer service locations in areas impacted by a disaster. In addition, a fleet of cells on wheels (COWS) and cells on light trucks (COLTS), and generators on trailers (GOaTS) can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity.
Also available for immediate deployment to the Gulf Coast region is the Verizon Business emergency mobile communications command vehicle fleet. These stand-alone vehicles provide all state-of-the-art communications needs including VoIP, Internet, data, wireless, computer, faxing and printing capabilities. The rigs can use the Verizon Business satellite network or the landline network.
When traditional services go out due to power outages to the home or business, as long as the phone lines themselves are not down, the phone will work when the lights are out, provided the instrument used does not require power itself. Keeping a standard, corded phone available can be a lifeline simply by hooking it up to a phone jack. For businesses, this may be the line that supports a fax machine.
Wireless customers should consider having spare handset, chargers or laptop batteries, and they can always recharge their equipment using automobile adapters, keeping in mind the importance of operating motor vehicles outdoors or with proper ventilation. Wireless data customers, of course, have the additional option of communicating via wireless e-mail or text messaging.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 67 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.