FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Verizon technicians have made significant progress in restoring telephone service to customers affected by the historic flooding and severe storms that have wracked the Midwest over the last two weeks.
Overall, Verizon's landline telecommunications network in Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin has held up well throughout the storms, and many of the company's customers whose homes and businesses have not been flooded and who have corded, landline phones have been able to use those phones even as power failed in many areas.
In addition to the restoration efforts, Verizon and its employees have been participating in efforts to provide aid to affected consumers, such as giving out bottled water in some areas and assisting in storm damage cleanup. The Verizon Foundation also has begun a 1-to-1 match for every dollar donated by Verizon employees in support of relief efforts under way across the Midwest.
"Every spring and summer, severe weather poses a threat to how people communicate and can affect how Verizon provides communications services - and this spring has been particularly nasty," said Michael P. O'Keefe, vice president of customer operations for Verizon's Central region. "However, the dependability of our landline network and phone service gives customers the peace of mind that, even during power outages, they can stay connected to friends, family, associates and, most important, 911."
Customer repair reports to Verizon have been running from two to six times normal as customers in the five-state region return to their homes and businesses and assess the damage. The company has mobilized its workforce and extended technicians' hours to restore service as quickly as possible. In addition, Verizon technicians shifted from Texas are helping in the hardest-hit areas. Access to flooded areas and downed telephone poles are two of the biggest challenges facing the technicians as they work to restore service.
The Verizon landline network, which nationally processes more than 1 billion calls a day, with 99.9 percent reliability, is self-powered, with backup power in place, so customers can still make phone calls on a corded phone during a power outage, said O'Keefe.
People who use a cordless home phone, cable phone or voice-over-Internet-protocol (VoIP) connection over broadband will most likely lose service when the power fails.
"Corded phones remain the most reliable way to maintain communications during severe weather because Verizon has always worked to ensure our landline network continues to provide unparalleled reliability," said O'Keefe.
Customers can purchase an inexpensive phone with a cord that plugs directly into a wall jack at many retail outlets that sell electronic equipment.
Customers should avoid talking on a landline phone when thunder and lightning are present.
Residential and small-business customers with five lines or fewer should call 800-483-1000 to request a repair. Businesses with more than five lines should call 800-483-2000. Verizon will offer to forward calls from the non-working number to another phone number that is working, at no charge.
Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), headquartered in New York, is a leader in delivering broadband and other wireline and wireless communication innovations to mass market, business, government and wholesale customers. Verizon Wireless operates America's most reliable wireless network, serving more than 67 million customers nationwide. Verizon's Wireline operations include Verizon Business, which delivers innovative and seamless business solutions to customers around the world, and Verizon Telecom, which brings customers the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services over the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network. A Dow 30 company, Verizon employed a diverse workforce of approximately 232,000 as of the end of the first quarter 2008 and last year generated consolidated operating revenues of $93.5 billion. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.