Telecoms make updates, donations after disaster

NEW YORK: As telephone lines were jammed across the country,

telecommunication companies issued numerous statements on the condition

of their networks.

The attacks on the World Trade Center destroyed switching equipment of

Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T, clogging local service.

Verizon held a news conference at 1pm EDT on September 12 to update the

public on the state of its local network.

Wireless phones were supplied to emergency services, and Verizon made

all calls from its 4,000 Manhattan pay phones free during the city's

state of emergency.

Four of Sprint PCS' cell sites in Manhattan were out of service through

Wednesday, and some of the landline connections were also seriously

damaged. "The company is working with federal, state, and local

officials to supply wireless phones for search-and-rescue efforts," a

spokesperson said.

AT&T issued a media advisory that confirmed its long-distance operations

were intact, but that high call volume was jamming up the system. It

also announced a donation of $1 million to the relief effort, and

$10 million in prepaid calling cards.

Michael Powell, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC),

issued a statement on September 12, citing "heroic" efforts by the

telecom industry to restore service. "This is a difficult time for

everyone, and we must be patient."

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