Hurricane Irma as seen on Sept. 5, 2017 (Credit: NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

Verizon Readies for Hurricane Irma

Won't charge for U.S. calls, texts to potentially storm-affected areas

Verizon is already giving customers a break in anticipation of Hurricane Irma's impact on the Caribbean and the U.S.

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, Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Turks and Caicos from Sept. 6-9, though they will still have to pay the tax and any government surcharges.

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 possible landfall, including readying its fleets of generators and mobile charging stations, topping off fuel tanks and checking batteries, pre-positioning emergency equipment, and readying drones for post-storm surveillance.

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 Mph.