Wireless Carriers Prep for Hurricane Season 2008
May 22, 2008 (Vol. 29, No. 11)
AT&T boasts spending billions to bulk up its network capabilities in advance of what many are predicting will be an active 2008 hurricane season (which officially kicks off June 1).
Here’s a partial list of AT&T’s preparations, according to a press release from the carrier:
• Added capacity to wireless network to accommodate increased call volume;
• Tested the high-capacity backup batteries located at every cell site;
• Deployed extended battery life and portable generators, and maintained existing fixed generators;
• Topped off generators with fuel at cell sites and central and field-level switching facilities;
• Used natural gas in some permanent generators to eliminate the need to refuel; and
• Elevated switches critical to network operations above expected flood levels.
Verizon Wireless also is fortifying its network. The carrier has spent $150 million in Florida, $96 million in North Carolina and $139 million in South Carolina to expand regional switching facilities, set up new digital cell sites with backup power, expand its EV-DO Rev. A network and build a Disaster Response Trailer mobile customer service unit, according to press releases.
All Verizon Wireless cell sites have battery backup. As many as 85% of the 100 new cell sites erected in Florida during the past year have on-site generators, as do 95% of the 100 new cell sites in North Carolina and 90% of the 34 new sites in South Carolina. Verizon Wireless invested $20 million to double the traffic capacity and backup power redundancies of its Tampa Bay switching facility, which can withstand a Category 5 hurricane and is designed to house the carrier’s emergency operations center in the region. (