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Bell Atlantic Weathers Hurricane Floyd in
Company Currently Reports 6,000 Maryland
Affected by Storm
September 18, 1999
BALTIMORE -- With one of the decade's most powerful
hurricane's pounding the East Coast Thursday, telephone service in
Maryland has weathered the storm. Bell Atlantic reported that, as of late
yesterday afternoon, phone service for about 6,000 customers has been
disrupted as a result of Hurricane Floyd.
While service already has been restored in some areas, the company
believes the number of affected customers could increase slightly over the
weekend as they are able to report phone service problems.
"Overall, our network is holding up very well," said Sherry F.
Bellamy, president and CEO of Bell Atlantic - Maryland.
"Obviously, we had a lot of rain, a lot of flooding and some very
heavy winds. But, Bell Atlantic prepared for Hurricane Floyd, and we are
working hard to minimize the impact on our customers."
Although several Bell Atlantic - Maryland central call-routing offices lost
commercial electric power during the storm, they immediately were
switched to a Bell Atlantic emergency backup system. Diesel generators
helped the company keep the offices supplying dial tone until electric
power was restored. Currently, six offices still are on backup power.
Of Bell Atlantic's 3.7 million customers in Maryland, about 6,000 lost dial
tone, had static on the line, or could not make or receive calls. In addition
to the affected phone lines, Bell Atlantic effectively handled huge call
volumes on its network, with twice as many calls compared to the same
period the week before.
"Caring for our customers is Bell Atlantic's top priority,"
Bellamy said. "That's why we're taking some aggressive steps to
handle the impact of the storm."
In Maryland, Bell Atlantic has established a 24-hour emergency command
center to track Floyd and potential problems in the network, and to inform
key personnel. About 160 technicians from construction and installation
centers have been reassigned throughout the state to help repair teams
quickly restore phone service. Prior to the storm, the company also
contacted suppliers to have backup generators, telephone cable and other
equipment on stand-by to be used in repairing service.
"We have extensive safeguards and procedures in place to protect
our network and restore service during severe weather emergencies,"
Bellamy said. "We now have all 'hands on deck' throughout the
weekend to restore service to customers as quickly as possible."
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