Verizon Wireless Rolls Network Crews, Equipment in Wake of Hurricane Katrina Network Returning to Full Strength for Florida Residents, Emergency Agencies

    BOCA RATON, Fla., Aug. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- With the tail-end of high winds
 and heavy rain from Hurricane Katrina still moving out of Florida, Verizon
 Wireless already has dispatched teams of network technicians with mobile
 generators and portable transmission sites in the state's hardest-hit areas,
 to reinforce wireless coverage for residents and emergency agencies.
     About 96 percent of the Verizon Wireless Florida digital network remained
 up and running throughout the storm, though network operability dropped
 slightly after the storm due to back-up batteries on rooftop cell sites
 running down.  By 11 a.m. Friday, the network already was returning to full
     Verizon Wireless technicians were deployed at sunrise Friday and are now
 working to restore any out-of-service sites and to deploy mobile transmission
 units to boost network capacity in areas where residents and rescue workers --
 especially in areas where power and other communication networks have
 failed -- must rely on wireless phones for post-storm communications.
     "Wireless communication can play a key public safety role in emergencies,"
 said Mike Lanman, Verizon Wireless Florida region president. "And we dedicate
 a great amount of resources to prepare and respond."
     Verizon Wireless has invested more than $800 million in its Florida
 network during the past five years, earning honors for call quality from
 numerous organizations, such as J.D. Power.  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 Katrina included:
      - Fine-tuning the company's digital network across the state to add call
        capacity in threatened areas before the storm hit.  During the 2004
        storm season, call traffic spiked dramatically on the day before
        landfall, and continued to be heavy on the Verizon Wireless network as
        other land and wireless networks failed.
      - Strategically positioning fleets of mobile generators and mobile cell
        sites to be deployed immediately in any hard-hit areas. The company has
        dozens of Cells on Wheels (COWS), which are self-powered transmitters
        that can be rolled into hard-hit locations or areas that need extra
        network capacity.
      - Pre-arranging fuel delivery to the mobile units and generators at
        permanent cell sites to keep the network operating at full strength
        even if power is lost for an extended period of time. Nearly 80 percent
        of the individual transmission sites operated by Verizon Wireless have
        their own on-site generators.  This capability is critical when power
        goes out and if roads are impassable.
      - Teams of "test men" from across the state were ready to roll in
        specially-equipped vehicles to test the network in the wake of Katrina.
     Residents are urged to help themselves with emergency wireless
 communication preparations, including:
      - Keep wireless phone batteries charged in case local power is lost.
      - Have additional charged batteries and car-charger adapters available
        for back-up power.
      - Keep phones, batteries, chargers and other equipment in a dry,
        accessible location.
      - Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers -- police, fire and rescue
        agencies; power companies; insurance providers; family, friends and
        co-workers; etc. -- and program them into your phone.
      - Distribute wireless phone numbers to family members and friends.
      - Forward your home phone calls to your wireless number if you will be
        away from your home or have to evacuate.
     However, once a storm hits, residents should:
      - Limit non-emergency calls to conserve battery power and free-up
        wireless networks for emergency agencies and operations.
      - Send brief TXT Messages rather than voice calls for the same reasons as
      - When necessary, check weather and news reports available on many
        Internet-connected and other wireless phone applications when power is
     Editor's Note: To accompany a Verizon Wireless test man or to visit one of
 the company's Emergency Command Centers in preparation of a storm, contact
 Chuck Hamby at 813-404-6029.
     About Verizon Wireless
     Verizon 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:   VOD 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

SOURCE Verizon Wireless

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