Wednesday, August 31, 2005

BellSouth: 180 Central Offices on Generator Power, 870,000 Lines Out

BellSouth is concentrating on repairing major cables, ensuring telephone switching centers continue to have back-up power until commercial power can be restored, as well as getting communications established for emergency personnel, city and government officials and hospitals.

The total number of projected lines impacted in Louisiana is about 1,000,000. Approximately 130,000 lines have been cleared to date as power is restored, and 870,000 lines remain out of service. The actual time it will take to restore service depends upon BellSouth's access to the affected areas, the availability of electric power, and, ultimately, the extent of physical damage encountered by BellSouth's repair teams. This includes damage to terminals, poles, cables and drop lines to customer homes. No update was available for Mississippi.

On Wednesday, BellSouth reported that 180 of its central office locations are currently running on generator due to a loss of commercial power in affected areas. BellSouth maintains generators in all of its central offices and back-up power sources to remote terminals. The back-up power to remote terminals lasts approximately 8 to 10 hours.

"This is not a normal hurricane restoration situation," said Bill Smith, Chief Technology Officer.

The company said it is coordinating with wireless providers to improve communications in the hardest-hit areas.

BellSouth has about 13,000 employees in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama who have been affected by the storm. To aid its employees, BellSouth will set up several "tent cities" in severely affected areas. These cities will provide BellSouth employees and their families with necessities such as food, shelter and clothing, in addition to cash loans and employee assistance programs.

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