March 20, 2019
When Mother Nature brings chaos and destruction, the need for communities to connect becomes more important than ever. From copper and fiber and lines underground to the tall towers overhead, we rely on our communications networks to get us through the most trying times.
Such is the case as catastrophic flooding inundates areas in the Midwest along the Missouri and Mississippi river basins in what meteorologists refer to as a brutal bomb cyclone.
Even as waters recede from affected areas, homes and businesses are struggling to weather the storm. The agriculture industry, including farms and livestock, is among the hardest hit.
Many USTelecom member companies are on the front lines, working hard to maintain communications lines for first responders and families, in addition to coordinating with local, state and federal offices of emergency management.
AT&T has donated to the American Red Cross to support recovery efforts in Iowa and Nebraska, saying “as part of the local community in Nebraska, we are joining with our friends, neighbors and families to help those affected by the flood and aid in their recovery.” In addition, the company has provided unlimited talk, text and data access for its customers in the area.
Customers of CenturyLink in affected parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska and Wisconsin will be eligible for free emergency call forwarding services for 30 days, which allows area residents to use their service for 30 days free of charge. CenturyLink will also waive any late fees incurred due to impacts of the flooding.
Verizon is providing free unlimited calling, texting and data services to its postpaid and prepaid customers who reside in the parts of Iowa and Nebraska that have been most impacted by the flood waters.
Broadband providers work year-around to harden their networks in case of a natural disaster, so when storms come full force, our companies know how to answer the call to action. This week, providers stand ready to deploy extra recovery equipment like mobile cell towers to help connect people in affected areas as technicians work to remove water from underground equipment and restore any downed service as fast as possible.
Be sure to also check out the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) emergency communications tips. We hope everyone stays safe and sound.