Sprint Enhances Network Reliability with Environmentally Friendly Power Sources at Wireless Sites across the Country
October 12, 2007 at 09:00 AM EDT
Now more than ever, wireless service needs to be dependable, not just for everyday use, but also in the event of a disaster when it may be relied upon by first responders and customers, if other communications means are interrupted or not accessible. Sprint (NYSE:S), a title sponsor of the 2007 Solar Decathlon, is working to ensure that it provides its customers with networks that are not only reliable but — like the solar-powered homes featured at the decathlon — ones that are environmentally friendly as well. Sprint is actively testing and deploying sustainable and renewable energy sources at wireless sites across the country.
“With a strong commitment to being an environmental steward, it’s exciting to sponsor an event like the Solar Decathlon, that showcases creativity, innovation and talent in the use of energy,” said Bob Azzi, senior vice president of field engineering and operations for Sprint. “This sponsorship is a great fit for Sprint, because we’re also proactively working to deploy energy solutions that are sustainable, renewable and, environmentally friendly in our wireless network, both for primary energy sources and for backup power.”
In keeping with its commitment to corporate responsibility to the environment, Sprint is working to incorporate renewable energy sources into its network, and ultimately contribute to reducing its carbon footprint. This is also reflected in Sprint’s partnership in the EPA’s Climate Leaders program, an industry-government partnership aimed at developing long-term comprehensive corporate climate-change strategies.
Among the energy alternatives Sprint is working with:
Hydrogen fuel cells
Hydrogen fuel cells help maintain wireless service continuity in the event of severe or extended power outages and have been deployed at more than 200 Sprint cell sites across the country. A proven and reliable technology, hydrogen fuel cells have emerged as an alternative to traditional backup power sources, such as lead-acid batteries and noisy diesel generators. A fuel cell runs on hydrogen gas and produces electricity through an electrochemical reaction. The only byproducts of the process are water and heat. Hydrogen fuel cells are environmentally friendly, eliminating the hazardous by-products produced by lead acid batteries or mechanical generators. In addition, since there is no internal combustion involved, they are quiet and appropriate for areas where noise pollution is an issue.
After testing this solar-powered back-up power in California, Sprint expects to deploy it in New York as well. In these sites, signals on Sprint’s fiber-optic backbone are amplified so they maintain power. These sites are tied to area electric grids, and if more power is generated than a particular site needs, excess power is fed back into those grids.
The upcoming installation of a wind turbine on Sprint’s Overland Park, Kan., campus, will allow testing of wind as a potential power source for cell sites and other network uses. Sprint is also testing geothermal cooling at select cell sites, as well as the use of flow batteries.
As a title sponsor for the 2007 Solar Decathlon, which is being held Oct. 12-20 on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., Sprint is providing communications services for the event, primarily high-speed wireless Internet access, a portable network and information technology (IT) infrastructure. The wireless network for the decathlon will consist primarily of fixed microwave, Wi-Fi and IT infrastructure equipment. Besides the Wi-Fi access points, Sprint is providing core networking services to those involved with the event, including staff, journalists, competitors, schools, volunteers, as well as the public.
Sprint expects to invest more than $7 billion this year to further enhance its networks and meet the demand for more extensive mobile broadband coverage across the nation.
About Sprint Nextel
Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including two robust wireless networks serving 54 million customers at the end of the second quarter 2007; industry-leading mobile data services; instant national and international walkie-talkie capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. For more information, visit www.sprint.com.