NEW YORK, NY — Calls to Verizon's cellular and landline networks doubled from their peak normal volumes in the wake of the apparent terrorist attacks in New York City and Washington, D.C.
In the aftermath, calls to Verizon's networks reached twice the normal daily volumes of 115 million calls in New York City and 35 millions calls in the nation's capital. On a normal business day Verizon handles 1.5 billion calls.
The wireless network, while operating well, is experiencing congestion due to heavy calling. During the peak of the day, Verizon experienced 50 percent to 100 percent more traffic than normal, nationwide, on its wireless network.
Phone lines were extremely busy much of Tuesday, and many people who tried to call into or out of New York City and Washington, D.C. experienced a "fast busy" signal.
Calls to Verizon Directory Assistance and "0" operators also were 100 percent to 200 percent above normal today. Call answering times averaged between 5 and 50 seconds.
Wherever possible the company is re-routing call traffic. The Verizon network has redundancies ranging from fiber optic rings to backup power. In Manhattan, the company has asked long-distance carriers to work with it in routing traffic.
Two facilities at the World Trade Center that handled calls to and from the complex were destroyed in the building collapse.
Normally, Verizon has 488 employees, including some sales people, who work in the World Trade Center. They worked on lower floors of the North Tower. The company has accounted for most of these employees.
At 140 West Street in Manhattan, the company's operations center was evacuated before the WTC buildings collapsed. Normally, 1,737 employees are assigned to that building.
Verizon has as many as 10 wireless cell cites in New York City that are not operating. These are mostly out of service because facilities that connect the sites to the landline network went through the World Trade Center. Three temporary cell sites are on standby to go into southern Manhattan as soon as emergency officials allow. The company is increasing power and redirecting capacity at several northern New Jersey cell sites to serve southern Manhattan. By 10 p.m. a new cell site will be on the air in Liberty State Park in New Jersey, and two additional new cell sites will be on the air by midnight to bolster New York City coverage.
Temporary cell sites have been established at the Pittsburgh crash location and a temporary site will soon be operational at the Pentagon.
Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States, with 125 million access line equivalents and approximately 28 million wireless customers. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world. A Fortune 10 company with about 260,000 employees and more than $65 billion in annual revenues, Verizon's global presence extends to 40 countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and the Pacific. For more information on Verizon, visit www.verizon.com.
About Verizon Wireless
Verizon Wireless is the largest wireless communications provider in the U.S. with more than 28 million wireless voice and data customers. The coast-to-coast wireless provider was formed by the combination of the U.S. wireless businesses of Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) and Vodafone (NYSE and LSE: VOD), including Bell Atlantic Mobile, AirTouch Cellular, GTE Wireless and PrimeCo Personal Communications. Verizon Wireless has a footprint covering more than 90 percent of the U.S. population, 49 of the top 50 and 97 of the top 100 U.S. markets. The company, headquartered in Bedminster, NJ, is 40,000 employees strong. Reporters and editors can find more information about the company on the Web at http://www.verizonwireless.com.