BOCA RATON, FL — Verizon Wireless has restored its digital network to 100 percent capacity across southwest Florida in the wake of Hurricane Wilma, while teams of network technicians continue to restore and maintain reliable wireless service in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties areas still beset with widespread power outages and failure of other communication networks.
Dozens of network crews and fleets of equipment were initially deployed to the Naples area near Wilma's landfall, and across the entire southern part of the state hit hardest by the storm. Now that the wireless network along the state's southwest coast is fully restored, most of the company's resources and restoration efforts have been re-focused in the southeast.
These efforts include more than 65 cell sites in the southeast now being powered by permanent built-in generators (in Florida about 80 percent of all Verizon Wireless cell sites have built-in generators), and another 67 sites powered by portable generators. In addition, mobile transmission units have been installed to boost network capacity in critical areas near hospitals and emergency operation centers where rescue workers are using wireless phones for post-storm communications.
These measures have allowed Verizon Wireless to restore wireless service to about half of the affected cell sites throughout south Florida during the last 48 hours alone.
The Verizon Wireless network team also is working with the local landline telephone companies and others to identify connectivity issues that are impacting the Verizon Wireless network. Additional support staff and equipment from surrounding areas are now being brought in to further support the restoration effort.
"Our tagline 'We never stop working for you' is more than a slogan," said Mike Lanman, Verizon Wireless Florida region president. "Reliability is critical and that's why we invest significant resources and effort to prepare and respond effectively."
Verizon Wireless has invested more than $800 million in its Florida network during the past five years alone, plus millions more in preparation and response to Hurricane Katrina and other storms in 2005 and 2004. The company invests more than $4 billion nationwide each year about $1 billion every 90 days in its advanced voice and data networks.
Preparations for Hurricane Wilma included:
- Fine-tuning the company's digital network across the state to add call capacity in threatened areas before the storm hit.
- Strategically positioning fleets of mobile generators and mobile cell sites to be deployed immediately in any hard-hit areas.
- Pre-arranging fuel delivery to the mobile units and generators at permanent cell sites to keep the network operating even if power is lost for an extended period of time.
- Having teams of "test men and women" from across the state already prepped and ready to roll in specially-equipped vehicles to test the network in the wake of Wilma.
Verizon Wireless also reported today that 40 of its 56 retail locations in South Florida have reopened for regular business and are providing residents free local and long-distance calls, battery charging and technical support to anyone in need of these services due to Hurricane Wilma. Customers can view a list of open stores online.
Editor's Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless Test Man or to visit one of the company's Emergency Command Centers in preparation of or response to a storm, contact Chuck Hamby at 813-404-6029.
About Verizon WirelessVerizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 49.3 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.