Bell Atlantic Ice Storm Recovery Efforts Succeed
3,000 Poles Replaced; Vermont & New Hampshire Back to Normal
January 22, 1998
NEW YORK -- More than 2,700 Bell Atlantic technicians and managers
are getting the upper hand in restoring service to at least 10,000
customers still affected by the ice storm in Maine and northern New
Following nearly two weeks of intensive effort, the situation is
nearly normal for Bell Atlantic customers in Vermont and New
Hampshire, the company said today. Bell Atlantic's primary focus now
is repairing damage in Maine and northern New York.
Company technicians and managers are continuing to coordinate with
electric utility officials to obtain clearance to assess damage in
additional areas once power is restored and the area is declared safe.
Since the storm began, the company has restored local service and fixed
other problems affecting some 80,000 customers in the storm-impacted
areas of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and northern New York.
"We've brought in 1,100 employees from as far away as New Jersey,
Pennsylvania and Delaware to repair damage from what may have been the
worst storm we've ever experienced," said Arnie Eckelman, Bell
Atlantic group president-customer services. "The bulk of the damage
to our network involved individual lines that connect customers to our
network. The network itself continued to perform well during and
after the storm."
According to Ed Sproat, Bell Atlantic group president for network
services, the overall network continued to perform well because of
backup power systems the company installed in its central switching
offices that route telephone calls and provide dial tone. Customers
also benefited, he said, from new network features such as
self-healing fiber optic rings that automatically re-route calls when
a major inter-city line is cut.
Bell Atlantic continues to urge customers to report phone outages by
calling 890-6611 in New York and 555-1611 in Maine, New Hampshire and
In addition to clearing customer outages and other problems, Bell
Atlantic has replaced or fixed about half of the approximately 6,000
poles now known to be damaged by the storm. Company employees also
have aided electric utility and independent telephone company teams in
placing new poles.
Today, only three of the company's central offices in central New York
remained on emergency backup power. Shortly after the storm hit,
about 100 of the company's central offices in the four states were on
backup power which enabled them to continue supplying phone service to
Bell Atlantic also used some 450 portable generators in the field to
provide power to equipment serving customers.
Bell Atlantic efforts to help customers deal with the storm are going
beyond restoring local service. The Bell Atlantic Foundation donated
$250,000 to the American Red Cross to help defray expenses at more
than 80 shelters across the storm-damaged region. The company also
provided free local phone service at these shelters and, in some
areas, loaned generators to customers
Bell Atlantic - formed through the merger of Bell Atlantic and NYNEX -
is at the forefront of the new communications, information and
entertainment industry. With 40.5 million telephone access lines and
six 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 21 countries.