OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (BUSINESS WIRE), August 26, 2012 - As Tropical Storm Isaac nears the coast of Florida and is projected to become a Category 1 hurricane, Sprint (NYSE:S) has prepared its Florida network, Network Disaster Recovery staff, and the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT) for the storm’s anticipated impact.
Ahead of the 2012 hurricane season, Sprint invested close to $140 million to increase capacity and expand its wireless networks in the state of Florida, including more than $45 million in the Miami-West Palm Beach region; approximately $2.7 million in the Florida Panhandle; more than $18 million in Tampa; $5.1 million in the state’s Gulf Coast region; and close to $40 million in Orlando. Since January 2011, Sprint has also added more than 80 new cell sites throughout the state to its Nationwide Sprint Network.
Sprint’s preparations for Tropical Storm Isaac include:
- Hardening 70 percent of the cell sites on Sprint’s Florida networks with permanent generators in case of a loss of local power.
- Fully fueling all permanent generators and ensuring the availability of all portable generators necessary to meet the response needs based on Isaac’s current track and intensity.
- Fully fueling all network Points of Presence (POP) – the facilities where traffic enters and leaves the company’s global IP network, which facilitate dedicated data services for Sprint’s corporate and government customers, as well as other critical communications.
- Ensuring all Sprint network reservist strike teams are on standby and ready to deploy following Isaac’s landfall.
- Monitoring all Sprint cell sites that support the contraflow and evacuation routes as designated by the Florida Department of Transportation.
- Preparing the Sprint Emergency Response Team’s SatCOLT (Satellite Cell on Light Truck) assets, mobile phone and broadband devices, staff and other equipment at its hubs in Texas and Florida to deploy needed resources to local first responders, emergency command centers and other public safety officials.
Additionally, to support the thousands of delegates, volunteers and journalists visiting Tampa for the 2012 Republican National Convention, Sprint conducted a number of voice and data enhancements on its wireless network, including:
- Investing $9.7 million to augment in-building wireless service and point-to-point coverage as convention attendees move between venues.
- Boosting data capacity in Sprint’s downtown Tampa network by 25 percent by adding five permanent macro cell sites.
- Deploying a COW (Cell Site on Wheels) near the Tampa Bay Convention Center to enhance capacity and coverage for voice, data and text messaging along Bayshore Boulevard.
- Installing voice and data carriers to 41 existing Tampa-area cell sites.
- Installing an outdoor cell site between the Tampa Bay Convention Center and Tampa Bay Times Forum that will provide additional coverage and capacity outside and between these venues.
- Supplying to each official convention venue a Distributed Antenna System (DAS) to provide the necessary in-building coverage and the dedicated capacity needed to support the anticipated number of attendees at each location.
- Providing Tropicana Field – the location of the convention’s kickoff event – a DAS to enhance wireless coverage and capacity.
Sprint’s commitment to consumers, first responders and emergency medical officials
For public safety needs, the Sprint Emergency Response Team – a group of seasoned emergency communications personnel – is available to provide restoration of wireless voice, data and IP service, Sprint mobile broadband devices, and fully charged Sprint Direct Connect phones. These resources will help 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.
Wireless consumers residing in Tropical Storm Isaac’s projected path are also encouraged to use the following tips to prepare for a hurricane, severe flood or other natural disasters:
- Keep your wireless phone and backup batteries fully charged, and 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, so you have "before" pictures in the event of any storm damage.
- Wireless networks sometimes experience heavy traffic during emergency events, so rather than call, remember to use Sprint 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 56 million customers at the end of the second quarter of 2012 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. The American Customer Satisfaction Index rated Sprint No. 1 among all national carriers in customer satisfaction and most improved, across all 47 industries, during the last four years. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 3 in its 2011 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.