AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon: Connectivity During Hurricane Beryl

As Hurricane Beryl approached the Mexico and Texas border this weekend, AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon prepared their networks to ensure customers could stay connected during the storm.

In this article, I’ll share the highlights of how AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have been preparing for Hurricane Beryl. I’ll also share how these companies recommend preparing your phone for a natural disaster.

AT&T’s Network Preparations

On July 5, AT&T announced that the company initiated its storm preparedness plan.

The company’s network preparations included the following:

  • Topping off generators with fuel at AT&T's cell sites and switch facilities
  • Testing high-capacity backup batteries at cell sites
  • Protecting AT&T facilities against flooding
  • Staging emergency response and network recovery equipment in strategic locations for quick deployment following the storm
  • Prepping dedicated FirstNet deployable network assets for use by public safety agencies on FirstNet, as requested

AT&T's FirstNet Response Operations Group is led by a team of former first responders. The organization has been working to support public safety's emergency communications throughout the storm.

Additionally, AT&T has a Network Disaster Recovery program consisting of over 750 pieces of specialized response equipment that can be deployed as needed during emergencies. Equipment includes mobile cell sites and command centers, drones for assessing cell site damage, emergency communications vehicles, basecamp operations and more.

You can learn more about how AT&T has been preparing for Hurricane Beryl here.

T-Mobile’s Network Preparations

T-Mobile also announced that the company had activated its emergency plan for Hurricane Beryl on July 5. Before the storm hit, T-Mobile prepared its network and readied first responders.

According to T-Mobile's announcement, the company's network teams have been working with utility companies, and T-Mobile's Network Operation Centers have been closely monitoring network status. The company has also been working to prevent commercial power outages by refueling fixed generators, ensuring battery backups are charged, preparing local fueling stations and stating additional portable generators for rapid deployment.

T-Mobile’s Emergency Response Team has also ben coordinating with local emergency management teams in Texas to support first responders. A Community Support team has also been available to assist with connectivity needs including Wi-Fi and device charging to customers and communities in the area.

Finally, T-Mobile employees and retail stores that have been directly impacted by Hurricane Beryl have been prepared for the upcoming storm. Some locations have been temporarily closed while others have temporarily adopted new hours.

You can learn more about T-Mobile's preparations for Hurricane Beryl here.

Verizon’s Network Preparations

Verizon followed AT&T and T-Mobile with an announcement regarding storm preparedness on July 6.

In anticipation of network disruptions during the hurricane, Verizon prepared the following emergency equipment:

  • A fleet of over 550 portable network assets including generator-powered cell sites, drones and a fixed-wing aircraft for aerial support
  • An industry-leading 200 satellite-based portable network assets providing connectivity in scenarios where fiber connections are compromised
  • More than 100 mobile generators to assist communities in maintaining or restoring connectivity, and rapid recovery efforts

In addition to these network preparations, Verizon also prepared the Verizon Frontline Crisis Response Team to help maintain communications among public safety agencies on the front lines during the hurricane. According to Verizon, this team is primarily composed of former first responders and military personnel. The team provides portable cell sites, Wi-Fi hotspots, drones, charging stations and more during emergencies.

You can read Verizon's full announcement for more about how the company prepared for Hurricane Beryl.

Tips for Staying Connected During a Storm

When natural disasters hit, you can nearly always expect connectivity issues. While the service providers work to prepare their respective networks, it’s important for you to prepare for communication disruptions as well.

AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon have all shared communication tips to help you stay connected during a storm:

  • Make a disaster kit. Include emergency numbers and waterproof, resealable bags and chargers.
  • Download apps & set up alerts. Make sure you have apps like Red Cross and FEMA on your phone. You can also subscribe to local authorities' text alerts and social networks. Also, make sure wireless emergency alerts are enabled on your phone.
  • Charge your phone. Before a storm begins, make sure your device is fully charged. You can also prepare for a depleted battery by having portable battery packs on hand. Be sure to also have your car charger handy incase you need to evacuate.
  • Save your phone's battery life. Turn on power-save mode, turn off Bluetooth or enable Airplane Mode to save your phone's battery.
  • Keep your device dry. Store your phone in a water-resistant case, floating waterproof case or plastic bag.
  • Protect vital documents & be prepared for damage. Back up any important info and documents like insurance and medical papers to the cloud for easy access from any device. Additionally, snap pictures of valuables and other important belongings for possible insurance claims. Be sure to also back these up online.
  • Review your plan. Make sure your family knows the plan for emergencies. Choose someone out of the area as a central point of contact in case your family is separated. Also, make sure your emergency contacts are up-to-date.
  • Keep calls to a minimum during the storm. You can expect network congestion during a natural disaster. For this reason, it's important to limit non-emergency calls. Instead, try texting. It requires fewer network resources and can help conserve your phone's battery life.

For more tips on how to prepare for a natural disaster or other emergency, visit the American Red Cross website.

The post AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon: Connectivity During Hurricane Beryl appeared first on Clark Howard.

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