As we were before and during Hurricane Harvey, Verizon is well prepared to serve its customers in Florida and the southeastern U.S. with the nation’s largest and most reliable 4G LTE network should Hurricane Irma, upgraded to a Category 5 this morning, make landfall this weekend.
Final fine-tuning measures are underway and local Network teams also are prepared to travel the coast to assist areas hit hardest by the storm. The efforts are part of a year-round plan to make the network strong and reliable during storms and any other circumstances. Network enhancements in Florida and the southeast since last year's storm season include:
- expanding and densifying the most advanced 4G LTE (Long-Term Evolution) services across the states of Florida, North and South Carolina, and Georgia
- adding capacity to hundreds of cell sites
- fortifying coverage along evacuation routes
- putting cell site equipment on stilts to avoid damage due to flooding
- and installing new in-building network systems at hospitals, government and emergency facilities, high-traffic public venues and other key locations
In addition, the company has a number of "switch" network processing centers across the southeast. With hardened shells, these facilities also feature large-scale on-site power generation, various redundant operations and technologies, and other back-up systems to ensure the company's network remains strong, running and reliable.
"Our network’s great performance during Hurricane Harvey was the result of year round preparation on the part of our dedicated team of network engineers to ensure our customers can connect when they need it most," said Sergei Mislevy, executive director for network assurance for Verizon Wireless. "We take great pride in providing a superior network experience, especially in and after severe weather."
Other Verizon Wireless ongoing efforts to ensure a reliable network include:
- preparing emergency command centers in the case of a storm or other crisis
- readying the company's fleet of mobile equipment including of Cells on Wheels (COWS), Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS), and generators on a 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 commercial power is lost for an extended period of time
- topping off and testing generators and battery backups in cell sites
- coordinating with local, state and federal emergency services so they have the communications services they need
- pre-positioning emergency equipment, setting up our local switch location to house our 24x7 command center
- using the newest technology such as unmanned aerial vehicles (drones) to survey tower damage after a storm
These initiatives are part of a national network investment of nearly $11.2 billion in 2016 to increase the coverage, reliability and capacity of its premier network in the southeast and across the country.
Verizon has pledged to donate $10 million to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.