Florida Residents and First Responders Count on Sprint as State Prepares for 2009 Hurricane Season
Miami FL.--(BusinessWire)--As Florida residents gear up for the 2009 hurricane season, Sprint (NYSE:S) continues to work closely with local public safety agencies and to harden its networks so that critical communications are available to its customers before, during and after a storm.
In 2008, Sprint invested approximately $50 million in network expansion and enhancements in Florida, including:
- Network investments of approximately $27 million in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, $11 million in Tampa Bay, $9 million in Jacksonville, and more than $2 million in the Florida Panhandle; and
- Adding more than 20 new cell sites and installing permanent generators at approximately 90 cell sites throughout the state of Florida to its Nationwide Sprint Network and Nextel National Network.
These investments are in addition to the more the than 450 cell sites Sprint added in 2007 to its networks in Florida, along with installing permanent generators at more than 1,000 additional sites in the state’s hurricane-prone communities.
Sprint also has a long history of providing critical wireless communications support and personnel to assist first responders and various public agencies with relief efforts, most notably:
- Serving the last seven years as the primary wireless provider for the Florida Division of Emergency Management; and
- During the severe weather events of April 2009 in the Florida Panhandle, Sprint network engineers installed in-building wireless coverage at local emergency operations centers to support members of the Florida State Emergency Response Team.
In addition to strategic partnerships with public safety officials, Sprint has also made clean energy efficiency a priority in its network management and resiliency during hurricane season.
Between 2005 and 2007, Sprint installed numerous hydrogen fuel cell generators at more than 30 cell site locations throughout the state of Florida, including Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and Tampa. These fuel cells provide a much cleaner alternative to diesel-powered backup generators and are activated when service from the local electric utility is disrupted during severe weather or other natural disasters.
“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 Gulf Coast 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, 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.
In addition to hurricane preparations in the Southeast and Gulf Coast, Sprint invested approximately $1.8 billion in capital in 2008, largely to enhance its networks nationwide. Its Nextel Direct Connect® services continue to make it the undisputed leader in push-to-talk services, used by first responders across the country for its consistent ability to remain fully operational even during crisis events.
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.
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 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.