Network disaster recovery teams work aggressively to restore service in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands
MIAMI & CHARLESTON, S.C. (BUSINESS WIRE), August 22, 2011 – As Hurricane Irene approaches Florida and the coast of South Carolina, Sprint (NYSE:S, news, filings) is actively using experienced network engineers, backup generators and Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) to restore power and service to cell sites in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands that have already been impacted by the storm.
With Irene projected to make landfall in the U.S. later this week as a Category 3 hurricane, Sprint network technicians and the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) are staging critical resources, including Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTS) that will be needed to manage potential power and service outages.
In preparation for the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, Sprint invested close to $134 million to enhance and prepare its wireless networks in Florida, including more than $40 million in the Miami-West Palm Beach region, $6 million in the state’s Gulf Coast region; and close to $40 million in Orlando. Additionally, Sprint invested more than $17 million to enhance and prepare its wireless networks in South Carolina in preparation, including approximately $2.3 million in the Myrtle Beach region and close to $3.3 million along the South Carolina-Georgia coastline.
Sprint’s hardened and more resilient wireless networks
In addition to strategically staging and deploying COWs – mobile cell sites – to provide immediate restoration of wireless service in the event of power outages and other damage, 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.
Since 2005, Sprint has also installed more than 30 hydrogen fuel cell generators across Florida and more than 10 across South Carolina 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.
Sprint’s commitment to consumers, first responders and weather professionals
Created in 2002, the Sprint Emergency Response Team is a group of seasoned personnel with expertise working with disaster relief and emergency response agencies, public safety officials and medical personnel. Sprint ERT provides these groups immediate restoration of wireless voice, data and IP service with Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTS), Sprint Mobile Broadband devices, and fully charged Sprint and Nextel Direct Connect® phones to facilitate coordination during emergency incidents.
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 mobile devices and wireless service free of charge for 14 days to state and local agencies assisting with the response efforts. Since its creation, Sprint ERT has conducted more than 4,800 deployments and provided emergency wireless support for more than 1,250 events.
Wireless consumers are encouraged to use 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.
Since 2001, Sprint has worked with Wilmington, N.C.-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 Sudduth 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 has reported on more than 40 named tropical storms and hurricanes along the Atlantic Coast since 1998.
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 1-888-639-002, email ERTRequests@sprint.com or visit www.facebook.com/SprintEmergencyResponseTeam.
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 52 million customers at the end of 2Q 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.
Crystal Davis, 571-288-6806