HOUSTON, TX — In the aftermath of Hurricane Rita, Verizon Wireless crews have deployed into the hardest hit areas of the Texas Gulf Coast and Southwestern Louisiana to restore service where it has been disrupted by the storm.
Verizon Wireless is reporting disruptions to service in the areas hardest hit by the storm including Galveston and the area to the south of Houston, Beaumont and Port Arthur, TX, Lufkin, TX, and to the Lake Charles, Opelousas and Lafayette areas of Louisiana.
"Wireless communication is a critical resource, especially during an emergency," said Katherine Greene, Verizon Wireless Houston/Gulf Coast region president. "That's why it is so important for us to respond quickly and comprehensively in a time of crisis, and, more importantly, to build and prepare our network to perform well in any situation."
Verizon Wireless technicians in Texas and Louisiana are actively working to restore service to impacted sites and to restore network capacity in areas where residents and rescue workers must rely on wireless communications in the hurricane's wake.
More than 85 percent of Verizon Wireless cell sites in the Texas and Louisiana coastal areas have their own back-up generators and extended battery back-up to operate during power outages.
Special Services to Wireless Users
Verizon Wireless stores in Houston and surrounding areas are open and providing services to customers impacted by the storm. Special services being provided at stores include phone charging and phone troubleshooting, free local and long distance calls, and customer service support. Stores are stocked up on car chargers and extra batteries to meet the needs of customers who continue to be without power.
Status of Verizon Wireless Stores
Stores in central Houston and north Houston, as well as stores in Conroe and College Station are open. The Verizon Wireless store in Lafayette is open. Stores remain closed in southeast Houston with the exception of the Clear Lake City location. The FM 1960 store and the Humble store are closed due to lack of power. Stores in Beaumont and Lake Charles are closed.
About Verizon Wireless Emergency Planning
Throughout the year, Verizon Wireless prepares comprehensive disaster recovery plans to test emergency generators and back-up batteries to keep the network online in the event of a power outage.
In the Gulf Coast area alone, more than 85 percent of the individual transmission sites operated by Verizon Wireless have their own on-site generators. This capability is critical if roads are impassable in the wake of a storm.
The company also has a mobile fleet of Cell on Wheels (COWs) and Cell on Light Trucks (COLTs), which are mobile cell sites that can be rolled into hard hit locations or areas that need extra network capacity. The company's fleet of portable generators are kept fueled and placed on standby in areas prone to sudden natural disasters, and fuel supplies are secured in advance of storms to assist in keeping generators running. The company invests more than $4 billion annually to expand and upgrade its network. Additionally, Verizon Wireless has expanded network capacity and COWs are on standby to manage the anticipated high volume of wireless traffic on the network as residents return to Houston and surrounding areas in the days to come.
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 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.####