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Press Release -- October 14th, 2018
Source: Verizon
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Hurricane Michael network updates

October 14, 4:00pm – available here and from @KateHarrisJay on Twitter

Network Support Center
Media assets highlighting our Michael response and recovery efforts are available here.

Though the vast majority of Florida and Georgia service has been restored – 99% of our network is in service in Georgia and 97% in Florida – we continue to focus with urgency on restoration efforts in the hardest hit area of Panama City, Panama City Beach and the surrounding communities. To our customers in those areas where our restoration is taking longer to complete, we hear you and we understand your concerns and frustrations. You have our commitment that our teams on the ground, as well as those supporting them, will work around the clock until our service is back to 100%.
Network Support
Panama City, Panama City Beach, and surrounding areas:
The storm caused unprecedented damage to our fiber, which is essential for our network— including many of our temporary portable assets—to work. Our fiber crews are working around the clock to make repairs, and while they are making good progress, we still have work to do to get the fiber completely repaired. Once that fiber is repaired we expect service to come back on throughout Panama City, Panama City Beach and the surrounding areas.

In the interim, we have a Wireless Emergency Communications Center set up at our Panama City store, located at 411A E 23rd St, which is open from 10am-5pm and has service from a portable cell site that works with satellite connections. If you need to charge your device or connect with friends, loved ones or resources, we invite you to stop by that location.

To support first responders, our Big Red Command Trailer has multiple workstations and satellite connectivity and is supporting the Bay County Sherriff’s Office. Another Tactical Command Trailer is onsite to support the Panama City Beach Police Department. Two Gooseneck trailers equipped with connectivity, 5 mobile workstations and an inflatable shelter are in the area as well – one with the Salvation Army and one on its way to Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center. We have also deployed mobile cell sites with satellite connection to support the Bay County Emergency Operations Center (EOC)/911 Center, Panama City PD, Lynn Haven EOC, Tyndall Air Force Base, Gulf Coast Regional Medical Center, Springfield PD and City of Parker PD.

North of Panama City:
With crews working on recovery efforts round the clock, the following cities/townships have come back online in the last 12 hours: Sneads, Altha, Chattahoochee, Rosedale, Alford, Jacob City, Campbellton, Graceville. Crews continue work to repair damaged cell site equipment and cut fiber for the remaining sites out of service.

In the meantime, we have a Wireless Emergency Communications Center set up at the American Red Cross shelter at Marianna High School, located at 3546 Caverns Rd. in Marianna, which is open from 9am-6pm and has service from a portable cell site that works with satellite connections. If you need to charge your device or connect with friends, loved ones or resources, we invite you to stop by that location.

To support first responders, we have deployed a mobile cell site with satellite connection to support the FDOT Chipley Office.

Mexico City Beach:
Access on and around Mexico City Beach is still heavily restricted, however our crews are beginning to assess damage to equipment in that area as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, we are working on moving temporary assets into this market to provide search and rescue teams with communication.

To support first responders, we have deployed a mobile cell site with satellite connection to support the Gulf County EOC.

Southern Georgia:
Despite the widespread devastation by Hurricane Michael tearing through Georgia as a category three storm, restoration has been fast-paced in the area.

Counties with full service restoration include: Miller County, Calhoun County, which came back up last night, and Colquitt County.

Counties with some degradation to service: include Early County, Mitchell County, Grady County Albany County, Thomas County and Seminole County. Teams are working each of these cell sites and anticipate service restoration for those areas soon.

We are deploying two charging stations to the Albany Civic Center and our Albany store, located at 1100 N Westover Blvd, to support the community.

To support first responders, we have deployed a charging station to Blakely City Hall, and have also deployed mobile cell sites with satellite connection to support Early County 911 and Georgia State Patrol.

October 13, 9:00pm

As crews continue recovery efforts in the Panama City, Panama City Beach and surrounding areas, we are making progress in restoration. Much of the fiber, needed to connect the cell sites, is being repaired and several more sites have come back into service. In the meantime, we have deployed an additional 10 portable cell sites called Cells on Wheels (COWs) to the area to activate when fiber is restored.

We have activated a total of 23 portable assets including 10 eFemtos (cellular repeaters) that provide coverage indoors using an internet connection and additional portable cell sites with satellite connection to emergency operation centers and other key locations. Those locations include Springfield PD, City of Parker PD, Tyndall Air Force Base, Georgia State Patrol, and Early County 911 Center.

Community support
A Tactical Command Trailer, complete with a conference room, workstations and satellite connectivity, is onsite to support the Panama City Beach Police Department. We are staging a Wireless Emergency Communications Center (WECC) at our Panama City store and have a SPOT active at that site to provide connectivity, and will provide an update once these assets are operational and open to residents who need to charge their devices and connect with friends, family and loved ones. We have additional community support assets in the area and ready to deploy as needs are identified.

October 13, 3:00pm

Media assets highlighting our Michael response and recovery efforts are available here.

While the vast majority of Florida and Georgia service has been restored – 99% of our network is in service in Georgia and 97% in Florida – we continue to focus with urgency on restoration efforts in the hardest hit area of Panama City, Panama City Beach and the surrounding communities.

Network progress
Working with state heavy machinery clearing teams, we were finally able to access key facilities and fiber crews worked overnight to repair unprecedented fiber damage caused by strong winds and flying debris. Fiber is the connecting component of a network that carries data from point to point and is needed for both our permanent and temporary cell sites to be operational. While we have multiple fiber paths to carry data, the severity and intensity of the storm caused damage to all duplicate routes in the Panama City and Panama City Beach area.

Our crews are making good progress repairing damaged fiber lines and laying new fiber, resulting in the restoration of three cell sites, and we will not rest until service is fully restored. Simultaneously, our tower and engineering crews are assessing tower damage, replacing and repairing equipment and continuing with our massive refueling operations in order to keep towers powered by generators running until commercial power is restored.

Support for first responders and relief organizations
To further assist rescue and recovery operations, we set up SPOTs – mobile cell sites connected with a satellite link – to Lynnhaven EOC, Gulf County EOC, and Calhoun County GA 911 center, in addition to the mobile sites we previously deployed to Mitchell County GA, Bay County EOC and 911 Center, Panama City PD, Panama City Beach PD and FDOT Chipley Office. Our teams are in the process of deploying more SPOTs today throughout the impacted area.

We have deployed nearly 400 devices and 200 portable chargers to support the recovery and relief efforts of first responders and non-profits. We have a Mobile Command Center and several other assets onsite supporting the Bay County EOC, as well as 2 Gooseneck Trailers – one in Panama City and one in Tallahassee supporting Salvation Army efforts.

Community support
We are staging a Wireless Emergency Communications Center (WECC) at our Panama City store and have a SPOT on the way to provide connectivity, and will provide an update once these assets are operational and open to residents who need to charge their devices and connect with friends, family and loved ones.

We have additional assets in the area and ready to deploy as needs are identified.

October 12, 5:30pm

Continuing recovery efforts from the most intense storm to make landfall in the Florida panhandle and cause devastation across much of the southeast, as of this afternoon, 99% of our network is in service in Georgia and 97% in Florida. We continue to urgently focus on those remaining sites that are out of service in the hardest hit areas including Panama City, Panama City Beach and Tallahassee. Additionally, our teams are actively deploying portable cell sites to the Calhoun County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and 911 center in Georgia, the Lynnhaven EOC and the Gulf County EOC to help with rescue and recovery efforts for first responders.

Tallahassee
Tallahassee is almost fully restored with engineers completing final restorations on the last few impacted cell sites in that area.

Panama City, Panama City Beach and surrounding communities
State road clearing teams are helping our engineers to gain access to areas cut off by heavy debris, damaged or flooded bridges and downed power lines. Engineers continue to conduct site surveys and repairs, while refueling teams keep our generators topped off and running in the midst of continued power outages. We have had some sites come back in service following the restoration of fiber links. Fiber crews continue to work on repairing fiber damaged by strong winds and flying debris.

Free Calling/Data/Text Offer Extended to October 21
To further support those in the hardest hit areas in the Florida Panhandle, we are extending our free calling, texting and data offer to our postpaid and prepaid customers who reside in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Liberty and Wakulla Counties through Sunday, October 21.

October 12, 12:00

Network restoration efforts in Florida and Georgia continue today. As power outages continue across much of the southeast, many of our cell sites are running on backup power as designed for reliability, and massive refueling operations are underway to ensure those sites without commercial power continue in service for our customers and first responders.

Tallahassee
Repairs to impacted network facilities are well underway, and in many cases already complete. Our crews made great progress in Tallahassee overnight repairing fiber connections and bringing sites back into service. They continue to restore sites impacted by the storm this morning in that community.

Panama City/Panama City Beach
In Panama City and Panama City Beach we are working with the federal, state and local response teams to clear access roads to key facilities so that our crews can complete repairs for those communities as soon as key facilities are accessible. We have deployed five mobile cell sites with satellite connection (SPOTs) to assist with recovery efforts while we work to restore permanent network sites. SPOTs have been deployed to assist Mitchell County, Bay County EOC and 911 Center, Panama City PD, Panama City Beach PD and FDOT Chipley Office.

Multiple mobile assets are arriving today, including a Mobile Command Trailer and several other assets to the Bay County EOC and 911 Center, an Accommodation Trailer and the Tactical Command Trailer to the Panama City PD, 2 Wireless Emergency Communications Center (WECCs) in transit to Panama City and Tallahassee; and 2 Gooseneck Trailers supporting Salvation Army relief efforts in Panama City and Tallahassee.

As of today, all but our Panama City company-owned store in the hardest hit areas will be open for business. Visit our Store Locator for more information.

October 11, 12:00pm

Hurricane Michael, the most intense storm in history to make landfall in the Florida Panhandle, brought massive devastation throughout that area as well as parts of southern Georgia. As anticipated, commercial power is out throughout much of the impacted areas of Florida, Georgia and parts of Alabama and the Carolinas. Our network teams are staffing the 24x7 wireless command centers in hardened facilities that can withstand category five winds throughout these areas. In the hardest hit areas where we are experiencing service interruptions, we are assessing damage and mobilizing pre-staged equipment and people needed for repairs. Backup generators are running where needed and we are on standby to refuel generators to ensure our network facilities continue operating for our customers. We are in contact with federal, state and local emergency management teams and are coordinating communication needs and efforts with them. As the storm now moves through the Carolinas, we will continue to monitor the evolving situation there, with threats of flooding throughout an area still reeling from the effects of Hurricane Florence a few short weeks ago.

Free calls, texting, and data, and donation to the Red Cross
To further support the community, we are providing free calling, texting and data to our postpaid and prepaid customers who reside in the hardest hit areas.

In the coming days, we will deploy our Wireless Emergency Communication Centers, gooseneck trailers and other portable wireless assets to support residents, first responders and government officials without power to recharge devices, make calls to loved ones, and communicate/coordinate first responder activities.

Additionally, Verizon is contributing $250,000 to the American Red Cross to support recovery efforts.

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