Firm bolsters network to maintain critical voice, data service during tropical cyclone
Biloxi, Mississippi (September 14, 2020) – With parts of Mississippi and Alabama in the cross hairs of Hurricane Sally, C Spire’s bolstered network and highly-trained staff is ready to respond to any emergencies or widespread natural disasters caused by the rapidly strengthening tropical cyclone.
Company officials deployed one of its cell on light trucks (CoLTs) to the Mississippi Gulf Coast on Highway 67 over the weekend to support state and local emergency response efforts, topped off generators with fuel at cell sites and switching facilities, tested high-capacity back up batteries at cell sites and sandbagged several sites to protect from flooding.
Hurricane Sally is expected to make landfall early Tuesday as a Category 2 storm with 96 mph winds or greater, but could strengthen even more with dangerous storm surge, winds and flash flooding from torrential rainfall. The slow-moving storm is currently located about 150 southeast of Biloxi.
Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves has declared a state of emergency and several coastal communities and low-lying areas have been evacuated in anticipation of storm surge that could reach 11 feet in some areas. Federal officials already have approved the state’s disaster relief request ahead of the storm.
“We’re all praying for the best, but preparing for the worst,” said C Spire CTO Carla Lewis. “When disaster strikes, people depend on telecommunications as a lifeline to the outside world. We are committed to providing our customers with the best network coverage possible for all of their communications at the time of greatest need.”
Lewis said all C Spire employees and contractors, along with an extensive suite of network resources, will be on “high alert” throughout this week to respond to the slow-moving storm. The firm also is ready to activate its Emergency Response and Crisis Communications plans, which guide the use of resources and personnel.
C Spire routinely takes precautionary steps and puts restoration teams through various training and test scenarios and masses equipment and materials to protect critical network facilities and cell sites. The company uses back up batteries and diesel generators at mobile sties and switching centers and makes arrangements for replacement fuel supplies in case normal fuel delivery options are interrupted by commercial power outages or road closures.
The company operates multiple hurricane-ready “super switches” that provide added protection and service assurance for customers. The high-tech telecommunications switching facilities are designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane with winds up to 155 miles an hour, connect millions of calls, wireless data transmissions, video content and other critical services daily for consumer and business customers. In addition to hardened and reinforced shells, the all-steel and concrete buildings house large-scale 500-kilowatt diesel power generators, a grid of back up batteries and other redundant back-up systems, operations and technologies.
Some of the structures feature a 9-inch think external steel-reinforced precast concrete walls welded to 6-foot-wide spread footings. In addition to multiple redundant power feeds, the buildings also boast giant diesel generators each capable of producing 1.65 megawatts of continuous power, enough to light thousands of homes and businesses.
C Spire also relies on an extensive network of microwave technology that can circumvent damaged or destroyed landline systems and ensure that communications can be routed to their final destination, Lewis said. “Microwave technology can assist with communications during natural disasters when landline systems are down,” she added.
In addition, C Spire offers companies of all sizes a suite of disaster recovery and business continuity services through commercial data centers that operate 24/7/365 with the industry’s highest design, construction and operation certification through the Uptime Institute.
The company is coordinating its emergency response efforts with local, state and federal agencies and organizations, including the emergency response agencies in Mississippi, Alabama and Tennessee, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the National Weather Service, the American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
About C Spire
C Spire is a privately-held telecommunications and technology company driven to deliver the best experiences in wireless, fiber internet, and business IT solutions such as internet, VoIP, cloud and managed services. Read more news releases and announcements at cspire.com/news. For more information, visit cspire.com or find us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.