Carriers Prep for Hurricane Lane


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Telecommunications carriers are staging equipment and performing other activities to harden their networks as Hurricane Lane bears down on the Hawaiian Islands. AccuWeather predicts the storm will bring torrential rain, strong wind gusts and pounding surf across the state into this weekend. While the hurricane will slowly weaken, its slow speed will result in an extended period of rain, wind and high surf compared to a fast-moving storm.

A hurricane warning has been issued for the Big Island and Maui, while a hurricane watch is in place for Oahu and Kauai, reported ABC News. “What is certain is that Hawaii is going to be impacted and see torrential rains in the next couple of days,” FEMA Administrator Brock Long said at a news conference.

AT&T: Personnel are topping off fuel generators, testing high-capacity backup batteries at cell sites and protecting those sites against flooding with sandbags. “We’ve worked for the past few days to position equipment and crews and are ready to respond if needed,” said AT&T Hawaii President Bob Bass Thursday. “We’re closely linked with Hawaii public officials in their storm response efforts.” 

The carrier’s response equipment may include: Cell on Wheels (COWs) and Cell on Light Trucks, emergency communications vehicles and drones. It also may set-up a self-sufficient base camp with sleeping tents, bathrooms, kitchen, laundry facilities, an on-site nurse and ready to eat meals. AT&T also has the ability to supply technology and support trailers to provide infrastructure support and mobile heating ventilation and air conditioning.

Sprint: Network teams have staged resources such as emergency equipment and vehicles, fuel and portable generators across the impacted areas to enable rapid deployment if needed, following the storm. Recovery teams are on standby to ensure personnel are available to assist with recovery efforts.

“Our network improvements in the past year include continued investment of new cell sites and small cell technology that help to significantly boost capacity and data speeds throughout hurricane prone areas,” the carrier said Thursday. “We installed pumps and raised the equipment platforms at flood-prone sites and added alarms at sites to help identify water intrusion and address any issues prior to equipment being impacted.”

Sprint’s emergency response equipment such as satellite cell sites on light trucks and portable satellite systems are ready to deploy. It too, is topping off fuel levels for generators, as well as checking back-up batteries at cell sites.

T-Mobile: The carrier is closely monitoring the storm and is ready to respond. The carrier said Thursday, it’s prepared for the storm’s impact locally with emergency equipment, such as backup power solutions including portable generators, fuel trucks and mobile COWs, and has rapid-response teams on standby to minimize potential service disruptions. In addition, T-Mobile says it’s worked to ensure its employees, stores and facilities are prepared for the storm conditions, for their own safety, to be able to support customers – “and all Hawaiians – locally,” as the storm passes.

Verizon: The company did not answer our query by presstime about Hawaii specifically, however in a hurricane-prep fact sheet issued in May, Verizon said it has backup generators, HVAC systems and fiber rings at cell sites and switching centers to keep its network operational when commercial power is lost. Cell sites are on raised platforms in flood-prone areas. It pre-arranges fuel deliveries, with tankers poised and in position to quickly respond to hard-hit areas. The carrier has surveillance drones on standby to help assess and respond to damage after a storm.

August 24, 2018