HOUSTON, TX — Verizon Wireless, the leading wireless company with the most reliable voice and data network, including the nation’s largest wireless 3G broadband network, announced today that it has completed its network preparations for the 2009 Hurricane Season.
To ensure Houstonians have comprehensive, reliable wireless coverage in case of severe weather, and every day, the company has invested more than $338 million since the start of last year’s Hurricane Season to strengthen and enhance its wireless network throughout Texas, including over $132 million investment in the Houston area.
Highlights of these enhancements include expanding capacity in the company’s regional switching facilities throughout Texas, erecting new digital cell sites with on-site back-up power, and deploying a team of “test men” across the state in high-tech vehicles to fine tune the company’s all-digital network.
These intensive investments and preparations proved critical during and after past years’ extraordinary storm seasons. In the aftermath of even the most devastating hurricanes, like Hurricane Ike, the Verizon Wireless network in Houston remained strong while many other wireless communication networks struggled to serve emergency response officials and residents reaching out to insurance providers, family, friends and co-workers.
Additional highlights of the Verizon Wireless 2009 Houston Area Hurricane Season preparation and network enhancement include:
- A comprehensive emergency response plan, including preparing emergency command centers across Texas in the case of a storm or other crisis.
- Verizon Wireless network technicians, who serve as the inspiration for the famous TV Test Man commercials, traveled more than 113,300 miles across the state this past year in six vehicles (each valued at $250,000, equipped with phones, wireless data devices and computers) to measure the quality of voice and data calls on Verizon Wireless and other carriers.
- The company has a fleet of dozens 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-arranging 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.
- Erecting during the past year 125 new digital cell sites, of which about 88 percent have their own on-site generators and new expanded fuel tanks to extend their power-generating capacity.
- The completion of the Verizon Wireless 3G high-speed wireless network throughout the region, allowing customers to access advanced wireless services more reliably and at even faster broadband speeds.
- Updating and optimizing technology at regional network switching facilities throughout the state. All of the company’s “super switches,” which are designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, are equipped with large-scale back-up power generation.
These new technologies, facilities and network-strengthening efforts are part of an investment exceeding $420 million in Houston since 2006. Nationally, since the company was formed, Verizon Wireless has spent about $50 billion to enhance its digital wireless network.
(Editor’s Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man, tour a network facility or emergency command center, or obtain broadcast-quality video B-roll and still images of network operations/emergency preparations, contact Gretchen LeJeune, 713.219.8028).
About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s most reliable and largest wireless voice and data network, serving more than 86.6 million customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with more than 86,000 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.