NEW YORK - Verizon is mobilizing additional technicians in Virginia and Maryland to help speed restoration work on lines and poles damaged by Hurricane Isabel.
In the meantime, nearly 200 Verizon call-switching centers, called central offices, that lost commercial electric power due to Hurricane Isabel continued routing calls and data traffic on Friday as backup electrical generators and batteries automatically kicked in and kept the systems running.
"Our central offices form the core of our network, and they are designed for circumstances such as these when there is a widespread loss of commercial electrical power," said David Magnant, Verizon's Potomac region president.
Magnant said plans are underway to temporarily assign some Verizon technicians from other areas to the restoration effort in Virginia and Maryland.
"We're still assessing the damage, so we don't know yet how many employees this will involve," Magnant said.
In addition, Verizon is shipping hundreds of portable electrical generators from other Verizon states to Virginia and Maryland to provide power for equipment terminals now operating on batteries because commercial power has failed.
"At this point, it appears eastern Virginia and parts of Maryland are our hardest-hit areas, and they will be the primary focus of our efforts," Magnant said.
At mid-day on Friday, there were about 120 Verizon central switching offices running on backup power in Virginia. In addition, Verizon had other central offices on backup power in the following states: Delaware, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Magnant said the company does not yet have a formal estimate of total lines out of service, but the company's repair load in the Virginia/Potomac area already is about three times higher than the normal daily average.
"Overall, this was a serious weather situation, yet our network continued to run well overall, supporting crucial services such as 911," Magnant said.
He also noted that in some areas, Verizon will need to wait for local power companies to clear downed power lines before Verizon technicians are allowed in to begin restoration work.
Verizon is providing updates on service and other information in the wake of Hurricane Isabel on the World Wide Web. Go to www.verizon.com/news and click on the Storm Tracker banner.
A Fortune 10 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $67 billion in revenues and 221,000 employees. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 137.6 million access line equivalents and 34.6 million Verizon Wireless customers. Verizon is the third largest long-distance carrier for U.S. consumers, with 14.6 million long-distance lines. The company is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.