Nextel lends phones, boosts capacity to aid disaster recovery on East Coast
Tuesday’s airline hijackings brought destruction of the New York World Trade Center, damage to the Pentagon in Washington and thousands of injuries and deaths. Nextel Communications, Reston, VA, began lending wireless telephones the same day to federal, state and local government agencies and to emergency service provider organizations such as the American Red Cross. More than 2,000 phones with unlimited cellphone and two-way radio service were delivered in the New York, Washington and Boston areas.
In cooperation with Motorola, which manufactures the Nextel phones, the company plans to lend an additional 10,000 phones to assist the relief efforts. Government and relief agencies needing to request Nextel phones should make a request via email at [email protected].
Nextel reported that all of its 16,000 employees have been accounted for as safe. The company’s digital cellular network experienced what Audrey Schaefer, a Nextel spokesperson, described as extraordinary caller volume along the East Coast and sharp activity increases nationwide. Call volumes were up dramatically, resulting in call congestion on Nextel’s network and the landline network.
“The Nextel wireless network is and has been stable, and all fixed network components are fully operational. During the event, Nextel’s coverage in the World Trade Center area and in Washington was maintained,” Schaefer said.
On Wednesday, Nextel’s network engineering teams added call capacity to areas of New York and Washington to assist call demand. Some of the capacity was added through the installation of temporary cell sites.