TAMPA, FL — With the 2012 Atlantic Hurricane Season set to begin June 1, Verizon Wireless is finalizing special storm season network preparations to ensure Florida customers have access to the most reliable wireless services in the event of severe weather and other emergencies.
These special preparations augment on-going network enhancements highlighted by the rapid expansion of the company’s most advanced 4G LTE services in numerous Florida markets. First launched in Florida less than 18 months ago, Verizon Wireless 4G LTE already covers nearly every major city and more than 75 percent of the state’s population. These markets include South Florida, Key West, Fort Myers, Naples, Sarasota, Bradenton, Tampa Bay, Lakeland, Orlando, Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Daytona Beach, Gainesville, Ocala, Pensacola and Ft. Walton Beach.
Since last hurricane season, Verizon also has installed new in-building network systems at hospitals, government and emergency facilities, high-traffic public venues and other key locations. In addition, the company continues to install back-up generators with expanded fuel tanks at cell sites around the state to maintain wireless communication to keep wireless communication up and running even in the event of a prolonged power outage. More than 75 percent of all Verizon Wireless cell sites in Florida are equipped with their own back-up generators.
In conjunction with the generators, Verizon has pre-arranged fuel delivery in case of a storm, and will have tankers poised and in position to quickly arrive in hard-hit areas.
Verizon Wireless has five “super-switch” network processing centers located across the state (Jacksonville, Orlando, Tampa Bay, Jupiter and Pembroke Pines), which are designed to withstand Category 5 hurricanes and would serve as Emergency Operation Centers (EOC) in case of emergency. Storm season preparations have been ongoing at these facilities, which feature hardened shells, large-scale on-site power generation and other back-up systems to ensure the company’s Florida network remains strong, running and reliable.
Several of the super-switches house fleets 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. In recent months, Verizon introduced the company’s first “hybrid COW” in Florida to be able to reinforce both 4G LTE and 3G services for an area in need.
Final storm season preparations also include Verizon Wireless technicians driving across Florida in special vehicles to measure the quality of wireless coverage and services thoroughly across the state.
“Wireless communication is critical to the public each day, and especially during emergencies,” said Pam Tope, Florida region president of Verizon Wireless. “We devote a vast amount of resources on an ongoing basis and make special preparations this time of year to deliver the strongest, most reliable coverage and services to our Florida customers.”
(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 Chuck Hamby at 813-615-4803).
About Verizon Wireless Verizon Wireless operates the nation’s largest 4G LTE network and largest, most reliable 3G network. The company serves 93.0 million retail customers, including 88.0 million retail postpaid customers. Headquartered in Basking Ridge, N.J., with 80,000 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.