Verizon Wireless to deploy mobile units to storm-ravaged areas
NEW YORK - A number of wireless carriers said this weekend they are
starting to restore service in the New Orleans area in the aftermath
of Hurricane Katrina, in some cases with generators on the roofs of
The collapse of the communications network in the New Orleans area has
been widely blamed for contributing to the disaster there, as local
officials were unable to talk to each other and to federal authorities
to arrange relief in the days after Katrina laid waste to the city.
Verizon Wireless said it is at work restoring parts of New Orleans and
surrounding areas including Mandeville, Lacombe, Hammond and
Covington. It has also restored Louis Armstrong New Orleans
International Airport, which is being used for relief airlifts.
The company, a venture of Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone,
said it has restored service in Baton Rouge and Jackson, Mississippi,
and is working to bring back Mobile and Biloxi. In addition, Verizon
said late Saturday it was awaiting approval to deploy COWs -- Cells on
Wheels -- to boost coverage in the affected areas.
T-Mobile USA said late Saturday it has set up a cell site on the roof
of a hotel on Canal St. in New Orleans, running on a generator, and
has reestablished service in many areas of the flooded-out city.
T-Mobile said its network is now available at the Superdome, the
convention center and Armstrong Airport.
The company's main hardware in the area survived the storm, it said.
T-Mobile is a unit of Deutsche Telekom.
Sprint Nextel Corp. was more cautious on New Orleans, saying as of
Saturday night that it remained challenging. The company said it has
assembled a team in Baton Rouge to make repairs in areas where it was
deemed safe. The company, whose Nextel phones are popular for their
walkie-talkie capabilities, has provided 3,000 phones to relief
A spokesman for Cingular Wireless was not immediately available to
comment on the state of their network in the region.
Copyright 2005, Reuters
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