Call Forwarding, Wireless Phones Help Lower Manhattan Businesses, Residents Keep Connected

NEW YORK - Verizon has restored call forwarding service to serve customers in southern Manhattan who lost phone service as a result of the Sept. 11 disaster. Now, calls to their non-working lines can be forwarded to alternate numbers, such as wireless phones or a new business or home location.

In addition, both business customers and residents who were served by two Verizon switching centers damaged or destroyed in the disaster are being offered a special month-to-month wireless plan that they can purchase as a temporary replacement for their regular phone service.

"We're doing everything we can to be sure our customers can make and receive calls so their lives can go on in spite of what's happened," said Maura Breen, Verizon senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "We fired up a brand new call forwarding technology and created a special wireless plan so lower Manhattan customers can receive their phone calls."

The restored call forwarding service is driven by Verizon's Advanced Intelligent Network, which programs call handling instructions directly into the telephone network rather than into the equipment that supports an individual phone line. Because an entire switching center at the World Trade Center was lost, and service to many customers formerly served by a damaged switching center at 140 West St. is still being restored, the new advanced technology was used to restore call forwarding.

Verizon is not charging impacted customers any set-up costs or monthly fees for the call forwarding service. Customers, however, will be charged for any message unit or toll charges when calls are forwarded to either a new location or a wireless phone. The service is available only to customers formerly served by Verizon's World Trade Center or 140 West St. facilities.

To order this feature, customers should call 1-800-795-8742 and follow instructions to reach the appropriate service-ordering center.

Verizon also is offering a special wireless service package provided by Verizon Wireless to business customers who visit the Business Recovery Center at 110 Maiden Lane. Residential customers can sign up for the package Friday and Saturday at 15 St. James Place at the Smith Houses and at Goveneur Gardens community center, 605 Water St., Monday and Tuesday.

The special package, available only to customers who have lost their regular service, includes a free wireless phone and spare battery, 350 minutes of calls within the New York metro area, additional minutes at 10 cents a minute, long distance at 9 cents a minute and a voice mailbox. Roaming, international calls and other calling features are not available.

The service is offered on a month-to-month basis for $35. An annual contract is not required.

Customers signing up should bring a copy of their phone bill or their complete account number, including the three-digit code that appears with it on the bill, their driver's license or a photo ID, and, if they are a Lifeline customer, a valid Lifeline Certificate.

Verizon Communications

Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.