Neutral Tandem Inc., the nation's leading independent provider of tandem services for inter-carrier traffic, announced today that it will provide tandem diversity in the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions threatened most by natural disasters such as hurricanes and tropical storms. In hurricane-prone communities in Florida and Georgia, such as Miami, Tampa, Orlando, Ft. Myers, Gainesville, Jacksonville, Tallahassee, Pensacola, and Savannah, Neutral Tandem carries over half a billion minutes of local telephone calls each month. Neutral Tandem recently received certification to offer services in Louisiana and Mississippi and expects to be operational this summer in Alabama, North Carolina and South Carolina.
The increased investment, which includes a diverse transport and tandem switching network for the exchange of inter-carrier traffic, will improve each community's ability to complete local phone calls during and immediately following a natural disaster. Neutral Tandem has invested millions of dollars building critical network infrastructure in Florida and Georgia, and its expanded coverage provides the Atlantic and Gulf Coast regions with the same benefits of reliability and diversity by providing an alternative to the Incumbent Local Exchange Carrier's (ILEC) tandem network.
The Independent Panel Reviewing the Impact of Hurricane Katrina on Communications Networks identified the need for the type of tandem diversity provided by Neutral Tandem in its report to the FCC in June, 2006; and stated "...the switches that failed, especially tandems, had widespread effects on a broad variety of communications in and out of the Katrina region...." A copy of the report, along with a white paper entitled A National Security Issue: Tandem Diversity and the Public Switched Telephone Network can be found at www.neutraltandem.com.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Climate Prediction Center is predicting a 75 percent chance the Atlantic hurricane season will be above normal this year, and recommends that hurricane-prone regions begin to prepare. The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through November 30 and is expected to deliver between three and five major hurricanes of category 3 level or higher.