This is not a story of barn yard animals. It does, however, indicate that the engineers at Verizon Wireless have a sense of humor when it comes to disaster readiness – a subject that typically has very little to laugh about.
I once conducted an interview for a new-hire candidate where I posed the challenge to design a communications solution to go into effect in case of a natural disaster. The impetus for my question was Hurricane Katrina. The candidate did a OK job in the short 30 minutes alloted.
Today I stumbled across a Wall Street Journal Market Watch article describing what Verizon has done to prepare or disaster scenarios.
Within 24 hours after the storm [Hurricane Gustav], test drive results indicated the network was up and running at nearly 100 percent. In one of the hardest hit areas — Houma, La. — test drive results within 48 hours after the storm, revealed a call completion rate of 100 percent. … Enhancements to its regional switching facilities, which doubled its traffic capacity and back-up power redundancies. Many are designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane and serve as regional emergency operations centers in the event of a storm.
They describe some impressive emergency response capabilities too.
- A new 35-foot $150,000 Disaster Response Trailer to be used as a temporary customer service location in areas impacted by a disaster.
- A fleet of Cells on Wheels (COWs) and Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs), and Generators on Trailers (GOaTs).
I suspect AT&T Wireless and Sprint have similar readiness plans and equipment. Interesting stuff to consider when you really need that call to go through.