Since South Florida was last walloped by Hurricane Wilma in 2005, providers like AT&T, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile and Sprint Nextel have collectively invested billions of dollars to beef up their networks and cell sites.
- Verizon has installed new in-building network systems at hospitals, government and emergency facilities and other locations statewide. Verizon has hundreds of cell sites around South Florida, all with battery backup. About 85 percent of them have generators as well, to maintain wireless communication. “The batteries will last about 10 to 12 hours, then the generator automatically kicks in and can run for a week without being refueled,” said Verizon Wireless spokesman Chuck Hamby. Verizon says it will have tankers in position to quickly arrive at a hard-hit area.
- AT&T has four wireless switches in South Florida with built-in redundancy and generators. Hundreds of cell sites also are equipped with batteries and generators, and additional portable generators are ready to be moved into place, said AT&T spokeswoman Kelly Starling.
- Sprint Nextel is also ready for the storm, and will begin rolling in and staging back-up generators this weekend and assessing deploying disaster recovery teams, said spokeswoman Crystal Davis. Sprint’s cell towers are built to withstand winds of 110 mph, and in areas where the threat of significant flooding is high, the towers are elevated, she said.
- T-Mobile said it recently purchased 1,000 additional small mobile generators to assist with backup power to be deployed nationwide, whenever needed, and has additional portable generators that can be moved into place. In the event of widespread power outages, the company has backup generators and fuel tanks for regional network switch operations, and fuel is topped off for all generators in the potential path of a storm. T-Mobile operates Network Operation Centers to manage network traffic during any storm.
Watch How Convention Coverage Has Shifted to Cable, Online on PBS. See more from PBS NewsHour.
The Republican National Convention has been called the “Social Media Convention“. For the first time ever, political pride, protests and promotion will play out on one level playing field.
The Chamber of Commerce is even getting in on the action. Starting Sunday evening, nearly 50 professionals will gather in a large room full of LED TV screens and computers hooked up to social media networks. They’ll monitor conversations on Twitter using the hashtag #TampaBay, intercept them and promote the area. It’s at social.visittampabay.com.
See also: Live Convention Coverage