C Spire Wireless waives activation, monthly fees for priority service that aids critical mobile communications for emergency first responders
Provider move encourages police, fire and other designated emergency response agencies to use Wireless Priority Service for essential mobile communications during times of crisis or natural disaster
Ridgeland, Miss. (June 5, 2013) – With the most active hurricane season predicted in the last 60 years, C Spire Wireless today announced that it will waive the one-time activation charge and monthly service fee for Wireless Priority Service (WPS), which gives eligible emergency response agencies and personnel a higher priority connection to its mobile communications network during a crisis or natural disaster.
WPS gives emergency service personnel, including federal, state and local government officials, police, fire and other designated public health and safety first responders, a higher-priority connection to C Spire’s network during natural disasters like hurricanes, terrorist attacks and major accidents by dialing *272 before the destination phone number on pre-authorized mobile phones.
While priority calls do not preempt calls in progress, WPS allows authorized users to gain priority access to the next available wireless channel on the C Spire network, thereby increasing the probability of call completion during emergencies and times of crisis, according to Jim Richmond, vice president of Corporate Communications.
“In an emergency situation, essential communications are critical for public safety and emergency responders who need to get through as fast as possible,” Richmond said, noting that hurricanes, widespread flooding and tornadoes have caused billions of dollars in damage, injuries and deaths in recent years in the Southeast.
The latest National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration forecast predict s that this could be the second busiest season on record with as many as 20 named tropical storms expected to form in the Atlantic Ocean during the six-month period that officially began over the weekend. Eleven of those storms could strengthen into hurricanes with top winds of at least 74 mph and up to six could become major hurricanes with maximum winds of 111 mph or more.
Last year was the third-busiest year on record with 19 named storms, including Super Storm Sandy, which killed 147 people and caused $50 billion in damage in the eastern U.S., and Isaac, the only storm to make it onshore in the U.S. as a hurricane. Isaac pummeled the Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama coasts with heavy winds and rain, storm surge and record flooding that resulted in 5 deaths and $2.35 million in damage.
With signs that the first named storm of the 2013 hurricane season – Andrea – could be forming in the Gulf of Mexico in the next few days, the potential rises dramatically for catastrophic weather-caused events causing congestion for wireless emergency communications, Richmond said. “We want to support emergency responders by making this important resource available and affordable for cities, counties, states and federal agencies responsible for protecting the public during times of crisis or natural disaster,” he added.
WPS requires a one-time activation fee of up to $10 per line and each call has a per minute charge of up to 75 cents a minute, but C Spire is waiving both the activation fee and the monthly service fee of up to $4.50 for all designated and approved emergency responders, Richmond said. Per minute charges would still apply for each user.
To take advantage of WPS on the C Spire network, authorized emergency service personnel must first apply online to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security at http://wps.ncs.gov or by calling toll-free 1.866.627.2255 (select option 2). Once eligibility is confirmed, the applicant and C Spire will be notified that the request has been approved and WPS can be added to the user’s account.
Once WPS is activated, registered users simply dial *272 before dialing the 10-digit phone number and the call will be automatically placed in high-priority status for the next available wireless channel.
WPS was developed for wireless communications in 2001 by the Federal Communications Commission and is a companion service to the Government Emergency Telecommunications Service (GETS) for priority landline communications. Both programs are managed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and are part of the National Communications System created by President John F. Kennedy in 1963 in the aftermath of the Cuban Missile crisis.
For more information about WPS, contact a C Spire Business Solutions client account executive or the Assist for Business Support Center at 1.855.277.4732.
About C Spire Wireless
C Spire Wireless is a diversified wireless communications company passionately committed to helping customers by personalizing wireless services designed just for them. The company is the first wireless provider in the U.S. to personalize customers’ experience by offering apps that fit who they are, services that anticipate their needs, and rewards for using their phone in new ways – all with seamless ease and at amazingly fast speeds. This news release and other announcements are available at www.cspire.com/news. For more information about C Spire Wireless and its products and services, visit www.cspire.com or follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/cspire or Twitter at www.twitter.com/cspire or Google + or www.pinterest.com/cspirewireless