Maine's Survivable Telecommunications Network Reaches Milestone

Maine's Survivable Telecommunications Network Reaches Milestone

Bell Atlantic's 'SONET Rings' Link State for Lightning-Fast Communications

September 21, 1999


Peter Reilly, 207-797-1335

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine - Bell Atlantic today provided telephone users in Maine an extra measure of assurance now that state-of-the-art, reliable telecommunications technology extends from one end of the state to the other.

Bell Atlantic announced at a Presque Isle press conference that it has turned on the final link of a $100-million fiber-optic backbone route that carries millions of voice, data and video signals daily across the state.

Bell Atlantic has built many of its fiber systems using a special design that automatically re-routes calls when part of the link is damaged. This "self-healing" network architecture, known as SONET (Synchronous Optical NETwork) rings, renders network disruptions invisible to customers since calls are instantly routed in the reverse direction on the fiber-optic ring.

Gov. Angus King hailed the event as "another important milestone that's helping Maine to remain at the head of the pack nationwide" in terms of its telecommunications infrastructure. "With the completion of this survivable backbone network, we've added a passing lane to the information superhighway in Maine, and we're eliminating the need for a breakdown lane," said King, appearing on an interactive video link from Augusta.

The governor added that Bell Atlantic's SONET-based network is an important element of his "One Maine" strategy and helps insure that both the northern and southern parts of the state have advanced telecommunications capabilities.

"With SONET technology, we have created a series of intelligent, survivable transmission rings that can automatically reroute traffic in the event of a cut cable or other service interruption at essentially any point on our interoffice network backbone," said Edward B. Dinan, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Maine. Bell Atlantic has invested more than $100 million on its north-south SONET backbone route over the past three years. The $7.5-million Presque Isle ring links eastern Maine with an existing ring serving Caribou, Limestone and Fort Fairfield. The company has installed over 100,000 miles of fiber-optic cable in Maine.

Commissioner Stephen Levesque of the Department of Economic and Community Development emphasized that the kind of increased reliability SONET technology brings to Maine's telecommunications network is extremely important for call centers -- the fastest-growing employment sector in the state's economy.

"Telecommunications provides the lifeline for these businesses, and it's important that they can depend on it," said Levesque. "SONET will greatly enhance that reliability."

"This milestone demonstrates Bell Atlantic's commitment to provide our customers with the most advanced and reliable network," said Dinan. "This very competitive market demands that our customers be served by the best technology available - and we're delivering."

Bell Atlantic's SONET network in Maine currently encompasses 43 rings, including eight major loops that form the backbone network. In all, Bell Atlantic's Maine employees have installed over 500,000 SONET circuits, including 14,000 for the Presque Isle project alone.

As part of the Presque Isle project, Bell Atlantic also built an entirely new cable route between East Millinocket and Ashland, which included placing 550 telephone poles and over 85 miles of fiber cable.

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information industry. With more than 43 million telephone access lines and nearly 10 million wireless customers worldwide, Bell Atlantic companies are premier providers of advanced wireline voice and data services, market leaders in wireless services and the world's largest publishers of directory information. Bell Atlantic companies are also among the world's largest investors in high-growth global communications markets, with operations and investments in 23 countries.


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