Public Service

Verizon Readies for Hurricane Irma

Telco won't charge for U.S. calls, texts to potentially storm-affected areas 9/06/2017 12:45 PM Eastern
A NOAA satellite image of Hurricane Irma

Verizon is already giving customers a break in anticipation of Hurricane Irma's impact on the Caribbean and the U.S. residents who may have friends and family in its path.

The telco said Wednesday (Sept. 6) that its wireline phone customers in the U.S. will not incur any charges for calls to Anguilla, The British Virgin Islands; Puerto Rico; the Dominican Republic; Haiti; and Turks and Caicos Sept. 6-9, though they will still have to pay the tax and any government surcharges.

Related: Verizon Offers Communications Help to Harvey-Affected Customers

In addition, wireless customers in the U.S. will not be charged for texts or long-distance calls originating in the U.S. to those same countries and territories for the same time period.

Verizon said it was preparing its U.S. networks for Hurricane Irma's possible landfall, including readying its fleets of generators and mobile charging stations, topping off fuel tanks and checking batteries, prepositioning emergency equipment, and readying drones for post-storm surveillance.

Related: Verizon Commits $10 Million to Harvey Relief

With landfall possible along the Florida coast or inland, Verizon pointed out that in Florida, since last hurricane season, it has densified its network with 4G, fortified coverage along evacuation routs, put cell sites equipment on stilts and installed new systems in hospitals, government and emergency facilities, and high-traffic public areas.

Irma is currently a category 5 hurricane, the strongest designation, with winds in excess of 150 miles per hour.

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