Back-Up Power Ensures Uninterrupted Wireless Service During and After Storms Ravage Wisconsin

STOUGHTON, WI — After last Thursday's tornadoes ravaged Wisconsin, many areas were damaged and regular everyday necessities such as electricity and phone lines were knocked out or temporarily disabled. Verizon Wireless, however, reports that its wireless network coverage in the areas impacted by the storms was not affected. Reports reveal that the company's network had a 99 percent success rate of all measured call attempts in areas impacted by the storms, with nearly 100 percent of all cell sites in operation, thanks to advance preparation and back-up plans for severe weather.

Reports also show that call attempts on the Verizon Wireless network during Thursday evening were nearly ten times the normal usage in the Stoughton area specifically. Because of a loss of electrical power in Stoughton, cell sites immediately switched to back-up generator power allowing for little to no interruption of service. The company's network team continues to monitor the situation to ensure the network is functioning at full capacity.

In addition to having battery back-up power at most facilities, as well as generators installed at all switching facilities and many cell site locations, Verizon Wireless also has a fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWS) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTS) vehicles ready for dispatch should increased call volume require additional network capacity at the site.

Aside from offering back-up network support, Verizon Wireless urges wireless handset users to be prepared in case of an emergency or natural disaster. People rely heavily on their wireless phones to call for help or keep in touch with loved ones who may be at the center of a catastrophe. Verizon Wireless would like to remind residents to use their wireless handsets only when absolutely necessary in times of disaster. By doing so, customers will not overload the network for emergency workers who are depending on wireless communications for their rescue operations.

In addition, the company offers the following safety tips to keep people prepared and informed:

  • Keep wireless handset batteries and extras charged wherever possible, such as with a vehicle charger or an outlet with safe, available electricity

  • Keep handsets, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry, accessible location

  • Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers, including your insurance representative's contact information, and program them into your handset

  • Obtain weather updates using the web browser on your wireless handset (available on certain models), or by tapping into such services as Verizon Wireless' Get It Now® on-demand news applications

  •  Remember to hit the "Send" key and state your location if dialing 9-1-1

Since its inception in 2000, Verizon Wireless has consistently spent more than $4 billion annually-and more than $5 billion last year-to expand and improve its network nationwide. Approximately $38 million of this investment was spent in 2004 to stay ahead of the growing demand for Verizon Wireless products and services in Wisconsin, and to provide network redundancy in the event of emergencies or natural disasters.

Editor's note: Verizon Wireless representatives currently are in the greater Madison area and are available for interview. To schedule an interview with a representative from Verizon Wireless, please contact Beth Crivello at (414) 291-0912, ext. 122, or via e-mail at

About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 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 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