HOUSTON (BUSINESS WIRE), May 25, 2011 - During Hurricane Preparedness Week and the days leading up to the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane season, Sprint (NYSE:S, news, filings) and the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) are ensuring customers of their dedicated preparedness for the 12 to 18 tropical storm systems the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) recently projected for the 2011 Atlantic Hurricane season.
In 2010 and the first quarter of 2011, Sprint invested more than $230 million to enhance and prepare its wireless networks in the state of Texas in preparation, including approximately $51 million in Houston, close to $23 million in South Texas, more than $84 million in Dallas-Fort Worth, $22 million in San Antonio and $14.5 million in Austin. Sprint also added more than 50 new cell sites throughout the state to its Nationwide Sprint Network.
Additionally, since 2005, Sprint has made significant strides in making clean energy efficiency a priority in its network management and resiliency during hurricane season. To date, Sprint has installed 80 hydrogen fuel cell generators at cell site locations across Texas as a much cleaner alternative to diesel-powered backup generators. These generators are activated when service from the local electric utility is disrupted during severe weather or other natural disasters and provide extended hours of backup power before needing refueling versus traditional generators.
For any potentially impactful storm event, Sprint ERT, along with the company’s network and business continuity teams will be pre-staged in hurricane-prone areas of the state with:
- Hundreds of portable generators to provide power to Sprint network assets when local power is unavailable.
- Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTS) and Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) to provide immediate restoration of service and to help facilitate wireless and IP communications among disaster relief and emergency response agencies.
- Experienced and well-trained technicians and engineers who can readily access and maintain the resiliency of Sprint network assets.
Sprint also has permanent generators – automatic cutover switches to immediately neutralize any loss of commercial power – installed at:
- All of its wireless and wireline switches – the network components where wireless data and calls are routed to their final destination.
- The company’s network Points of Presence (POP) - the facilities where traffic enters and leaves the company’s global IP network, which facilitates dedicated data services for Sprint’s corporate and government customers, as well as other critical communications.
Sprint’s commitment to consumers, first responders and emergency medical officials
Created in 2002, the Sprint Emergency Response Team is a group of seasoned personnel with expertise in providing immediate restoration of wireless voice, data and IP service, Sprint Mobile Broadband devices, and fully charged Sprint and Nextel Direct Connect® phones to facilitate coordination among disaster relief and emergency response agencies, public safety officials and medical personnel.
Sprint ERT maintains a 24-hour hotline, 365 days a year, to rapidly address client needs and, during times of state and federally-declared national disasters, provides 25 mobile devices and wireless service free of charge for 14 days to state and local agencies. Since its creation, Sprint ERT has conducted more than 4,800 deployments, and provided emergency wireless support for more than 1,250 events.
Since 2001, Sprint has worked with Wilmington-based weather data and hurricane awareness expert, Mark Sudduth of HurricaneTrack.com on his team’s efforts to provide live, immediate and seamless reporting during every hurricane season. Over the last 10 years, Sprint has supplied Mark and his team with Sprint 3G and 4G mobile phones and broadband devices to give them fast and reliable mobile Internet connectivity during their field data collection efforts and online video reporting. Sudduth is based in Wilmington, N.C., and has reported on close to 40 named tropical storms and hurricanes along the Atlantic Coast since 1998.
“The wireless resources and support from Sprint has been truly invaluable to our efforts and HurricaneTrack.com’s supporters and fans,” said Sudduth. “No matter the storm condition – it can be a Category 1 or Category 5 hurricane – Sprint’s 3G and 4G service has been reliable and always available when we need it.”
Additionally wireless consumers are encouraged to utilize their phones and tablets to access hundreds of emergency and preparation mobile applications from the Android Market™, BlackBerry App World™ or GetJar.com and use the following tips to prepare for a hurricane, severe flood or other natural disasters:
- Keep your wireless phone and backup batteries charged, but be aware that an interruption of wireline and commercial power could affect wireless calls.
- If possible, get extra batteries and charge them.
- In times of commercial power outages, a car adapter for your wireless phone should enable you to recharge the battery.
- Keep phones and necessary accessories in a sealed plastic bag to avoid water damage.
- Load family and emergency numbers into your wireless phone.
- Use your Sprint camera phone to take digital pictures or video of your property and valuables before the storm hits. Upload the images to your personal pictures inbox on www.sprint.com so you have "before" pictures in the event of any storm damage.
- Wireless networks sometimes experience heavy traffic during emergency events, so remember to use Nextel Direct Connect® or send a text message.
For more information about Sprint’s hurricane preparation efforts, or to learn what you can do to prepare for a major storm, visit www.sprint.com/hurricaneinformation. Public safety officials seeking information about services from the Sprint Emergency Response Team should call 1-888-639-0020 or email ERTRequests@sprint.com.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 51 million customers at the end of 1Q 2011 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance Wireless; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.