FEMA Strengthens Web Site For Disasters

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FEMA Strengthens Web Site For Disasters

Bell Atlantic Expands Site's Capacity in Record Time

September 8, 1998


Michel Daley,
Meredith Gray,

WASHINGTON -- When the next hurricane strikes, hundreds of
thousands of Americans will be able to simultaneously access the Federal
Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA's) web site because of a new
high-speed, fiber-optic-based communications service installed by Bell
Atlantic in the midst of Hurricane Bonnie.

When Bonnie struck the Carolina coast, an unprecedented number of
people tried to access FEMA's web site, threatening to disrupt the site's
availability. Bell Atlantic responded by expanding the site's
communications capacity six-fold in less than 12 hours.

The company's quick response enabled hundreds of thousands of people in
the path of the hurricane, as well as their families and friends, to check on
the conditions in Bonnie's path and quickly receive on-line emergency

As a result of Bell Atlantic's responsiveness, FEMA signed a one-year
lease for FNS, a high-speed, fiber-optic-based network service. The service
insures that everyone who wants to access FEMA's web site will be able to
get through quickly in the future.

"Our employees provided unmatched service, working under pressure to
complete a complicated installation that usually requires advanced detailed
design and preparation," said Barbara Connor, president of Bell Atlantic
Federal. "They broke all records to provide the best service possible to
FEMA and the thousands of people affected by the hurricane."

Connor also acknowledged DIGEX Business Internet Solutions, FEMA's
Internet service provider, for making their staff and facilities available to
Bell Atlantic service technicians after hours for installation of the network
service at the DIGEX site.

Bell Atlantic provides ongoing support for FEMA's web site and "Project
Impact," a FEMA initiative to build disaster-resistant communities. The
robust site is crucial in helping communities gain much-needed information
during disasters.

During Hurricane Bonnie, the number of files being accessed on FEMA's
web site daily rose from 200,000 to almost two million. The agency's T-1
communications line was not capable of handling the additional volume.
The new FNS, a network service architecture unique to Bell Atlantic,
provides FEMA with an Ethernet interface that moves data with upper
limits of 10 Mbps compared to 1.5 Mbps from the previous T-1.

"The Internet has become an important communications medium," said
FEMA Director James Lee Witt. "This latest upgrade should help the
many people who have come to depend on our web site for emergency

Bell Atlantic assembled a team of Bell Atlantic and DIGEX account
representatives, engineers and technicians to pull the complicated upgrade
together. Then the team worked well into the night to test and activate the
new service.

"We identified a problem and provided a solution that will help people in
need all over the country," said Greg Lyons, Bell Atlantic Federal account
executive. "FEMA's web site was already state-of-the-art, but we were
able to increase its value."

Bell Atlantic is at the forefront of the new communications and information
industry. With more than 41 million telephone access lines and more than
seven 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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