BEDMINSTER, NJ — Verizon Wireless, the nation's premier provider of wireless products and services, today announced the availability of Wireless Priority Service (WPS), a federal program that will provide the benefit of priority network access for National Security and Emergency Preparedness (NS/EP) officials that must have communications capabilities in times of emergency.
Beginning this month, WPS will be available to Verizon Wireless subscribers in Washington, DC, Maryland, Northern Virginia and Chicago, Ill., and select counties in Los Angeles, Calif. and Southern Florida. Verizon Wireless will continue to add additional markets until the rollout is complete at the end of 2006. Verizon Wireless is working with Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC), a National Communications System (NCS) integration contractor for the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service to provide WPS. Verizon Wireless first announced the contract with Computer Sciences Corporation in September 2005 to provide WPS.
During times of emergency, WPS will give emergency service personnel including federal, state and local government officials, law enforcement agencies and designated private sector responders priority in placing calls. While priority calls do not preempt calls in progress, WPS will allow authorized users to gain priority access to the next available wireless channel, thereby increasing their probability of call completion during an emergency. Calls placed by individuals without priority access will still be given access to the network.
"If an event were to occur and trigger increased traffic on wireless networks, it is critical for those responding to the emergency to be able to get through as fast as possible," said Mike Maiorana, vice president of the government team at Verizon Wireless. "Verizon Wireless is pleased to support the Government's mission by making this important resource available to those charged with caring for our public safety and security."
How to Sign Up for WPSTo take advantage of WPS on the Verizon Wireless network, authorized national security and emergency preparedness users must first apply to the NCS to receive this service by visiting the NCS' website at http://wps.ncs.gov/request.html. Once NCS confirms eligibility, the NCS will then notify Verizon Wireless that the NS/EP official has been approved for WPS and that the service can be added to the user's account. Users may also contact their Verizon Wireless Account Manager or the WPS Activation and Support department at 877-262-2950 for further information.
Using Wireless Priority ServiceOnce WPS is activated, registered users simply dial *272 before dialing the 10-digit telephone number. The call will automatically be placed in high-priority status and will be given priority for the next available wireless channel.
Verizon Wireless operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 51.3 million voice and data customers. Verizon Wireless has invested $30 billion in the last six years -- $5 billion on average every year since the company was formed -- to increase the coverage and capacity of its national network and to add new services.
Additional information regarding the WPS program can be obtained by visiting http://wps.ncs.gov.
About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 51.3 million voice and data customers. Headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, Verizon Wireless is a joint venture of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD). Find more information on the Web at 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.####