Verizon Near Normal Service Levels, Following Buffalo's Early Season Snowstorm

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Verizon announced today that it has achieved near normal service levels, following the early season snowstorm that hit the region last month, and the company urged anyone who has remaining service issues to call the company's repair line.

"The storm caused incredible damage and devastation to the area, and we have worked hard on tens of thousands of repairs in order to restore service," said Joseph DeMauro, regional vice president for Verizon operations.  "Our daily workload is now close to pre-storm levels, and we are working on clearing the last of the storm-related problems.  We thank our customers for their patience during this time."

After clearing 97 percent of service issues, Verizon has begun to address the many installation orders for special business lines, residential service, and DSL and FiOS Internet service that had been postponed during the restoration efforts.

During the last month, Verizon responded to nearly 90,000 service-affecting issues.  This includes reports called in by customers as well as storm-related problems found by Verizon technicians working in the affected areas. 

More than 700 technicians helped with restoration efforts, including more than 400 technicians Verizon brought to the area from other parts of New York state and neighboring states to assist with repairs and other tasks, such as pole replacements, installing new drop wires and splicing new cables.

"The amount of work our technicians and back office staff accomplished in the past three weeks would normally have taken three to six months," said DeMauro.  "Our employees' dedication to getting our customers back in service was evident over this period."

Since the storm, Verizon has replaced, reattached or repaired approximately 350 poles and the same number of major cables that carry telephone calls and Internet traffic into neighborhoods and business parks.

In addition, Verizon conducted engineering surveys of neighborhoods to identify downed wires and cables, and worked closely with local agencies and the power company to identify safe work areas as well as those areas needing telecom service.  Under standard safety procedure, Verizon employees are not permitted to enter neighborhoods until electricity is restored and all safety issues associated with power outages are cleared.

Verizon's telecom group also coordinated with Verizon Wireless to donate cell phones to Buffalo for use by volunteers and at warming centers, and by the Town of Tonawanda and the Erie County Emergency Operations Center.

Less than one week after the storm hit, all of Verizon's 80 central offices that serve the affected areas were back on commercial power.  Following the storm, 30 of the company's central offices had continued to operate on battery or generator backup power.  All Verizon central offices - which perform the essential functions of supplying dial tone and routing calls and data transmissions for customers - are equipped with backup batteries and generators that kick in automatically if the electrical power supply is interrupted.  In addition, portable generators were used in locations where commercial power was interrupted for an extended period of time.

As always, Verizon reminds customers to contact the company if any remaining service issues exist.  Residential customers can call 716-890-6611, and small-business customers can call 716-890-7711.

Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ), a Dow 30 company, 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 nearly 57 million customers nationwide.  Verizon Business operates one of the most expansive wholly-owned global IP networks.  Verizon Telecom is deploying the nation's most advanced fiber-optic network to deliver the benefits of converged communications, information and entertainment services to customers.  Based in New York, Verizon has a diverse workforce of approximately 250,000 and generates annual consolidated operating revenues of approximately $90 billion.  For more information, visit www.verizon.com.