May 12, 2009

South Carolina First Responders, Hospitals and Public Schools Count on Sprint as State Marks 20th Anniversary of Hurricane Hugo

Sprint Invests $16 Million in South Carolina Network Preparations; Provides Critical Mobile Communications to State's Coastal Areas

CHARLESTON, S.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--May. 12, 2009-- As South Carolina residents gear up for the 2009 hurricane season and mark the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo’s landfall, Sprint (NYSE:S) continues to work closely with local public safety, public health and education providers and to harden its networks so that critical communications are available to its customers before, during and after a storm.

In 2008, Sprint invested $16 million in network expansion and enhancements in its South Carolina market, including:

  • A network expansion of approximately $3.6 million in Myrtle Beach;
  • Adding more than 20 new sites throughout the state of South Carolina to its Nationwide Sprint Network and Nextel National network; and
  • Installing permanent generators in hurricane-prone communities at more than 1,400 throughout the Southeast and Gulf Coast, including South Carolina, and additional portable generators, which provide backup power to the networks in the event of power outages or other damage that could result after a hurricane.

Sprint has a long history of providing critical communications and personnel to assist first responders and various public agencies with relief efforts. Since 2006, Sprint has been the primary wireless carrier for the public safety and public works agencies, and school districts of South Carolina’s coastal county of Georgetown. By creating an integrated Converged Network Solution (CNS) for these organizations, Sprint improved their overall wireless coverage and interoperable communications for day-to-day operations and during emergency situations.

Sprint’s creation of an integrated communications system for Georgetown County provides:

  • Enhanced communication between county dispatchers by installing a Console Integration solution to boost local network capacity and coverage on its Nextel National Network;
  • School principals and administrators with Nextel Direct Connect® push-to-talk access to their own school resource officers, local public safety agencies, and county government officials; and
  • Sprint Mobile Broadband Cards and Nextel BlackBerry® devices to county fire rescue teams, mobile command centers and field staff to help them respond more efficiently during an emergency.

“What Sprint accomplished in streamlining the way Georgetown County’s first responders, public service agencies and school districts seamlessly communicate with each other has without a doubt been invaluable,” said Carter Weaver, assistant sheriff for Georgetown County. “Their wireless service has helped us save costs, time and resources and made us amply prepared for any crises that may come our way.”

In addition to its work in Georgetown County, Sprint also provides critical mobile communications support to other South Carolina agencies, including the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center in Charleston, S.C., and will continue to target several key areas for backup power during the 2009 hurricane season.

“Ensuring backup power to sites with high call volumes and ones that provide coverage to hurricane evacuation routes, public safety agencies, hospitals, major airports and government facilities has and will always be a top priority in Sprint’s customer support during hurricane season,” said Richard Blanc, vice president for Sprint field services and operations. “Hurricane-prone communities along the southeast corridor need our commitment to network redundancy and reliability, and we’re proud to continue excelling in this area.”

In preparation for the upcoming hurricane season and various natural disasters, the Sprint Emergency Response Team (ERT), trains for the worst-case scenario and provides businesses and first responders with immediate access to mobile communications for emergencies and field training exercises, and maintains a 24-hour hotline, 365 days a year, to rapidly address client needs.

Sprint’s network and business continuity teams will also be pre-staged in hurricane-prone states with portable generators, Satellite Cell on Light Trucks (SatCOLTS) and Cell Sites on Wheels (COWs) to restore wireless service quickly for customers and disaster response efforts.

For more information about Sprint Nextel hurricane preparation efforts, or to learn what you can do to prepare for a major storm, visit: www.sprint.com/hurricaneinformation.


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 is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two wireless networks serving more than 49 million customers at the end of the first quarter of 2009; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.

Source: Sprint

John Taylor
Crystal N. Davis

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