TMCnet News

Thanks to Verizon, Business Continues During Amtrak Outage
[May 25, 2006]

Thanks to Verizon, Business Continues During Amtrak Outage

Associate Editor
When a power outage along Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor rail lines during this morning’s rush hour halted trains for more than three hours, thousands of commuters were stranded aboard Amtrak and other passenger trains on their way to work — including TMC’s Rich Tehrani and Dave Rodriguez. 

While it may have been an inconvenience, many business travelers took advantage of the delay, and their communications solutions, to conduct business on their own or with colleagues or clients.

Of course, that put a strain on cellular networks, since anyone with a cell phone, voice-enabled PDA, or notebook computer with a wireless card was using them to call, email, or SMS. Verizon Wireless, for instance, said its network saw ten times its normal call volume between 9 and 10am. Verizon also indicated the spike in usage resulted in no network outages, abnormal call blocking, or other difficulties. 
Verizon, which labels itself the nation’s most reliable network, made its case in this situation, allowing stranded commuters to stay in touch, making the most of a difficult situation.
In addition to the increase in voice calls, the company’s high-speed wireless broadband data network also was put to the test, as it, too, was forced to cope with three times typical amount of traffic as commuters used laptop computers, PDA’s and EVDO-capable phones to check email, send and receive data and documents, and surf the Web. 
Verizon reported that its EV DO network, like its cellular network, was up to the challenge, reiterating that it is “committed to reliability and invests heavily in redundancy capabilities,” which enable its networks to handle peak volumes in emergency situations without issue.  Its networks are tested daily to analyze reliability and identify areas for enhancement.
Verizon still is the only wireless carrier offering service in the Amtrak tunnels between New York and New Jersey, where many of the travelers were stranded, enabling them to remain in contact.  Those facilities are part of the company’s $2 billion investment in its New York Metro area network over the past six years.  Today’s incident proved that to be a worthy investment.
Erik Linask is Associate Editor of INTERNET TELEPHONY. Most recently, he was Managing Editor at Global Custodian, an international securities services publication. To see more of his articles, please visit Erik Linask’s columnist page.

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