NEW YORK — Bell Atlantic Mobile reported up to a 60% increase in cellular usage in its Vermont market as a result of the ice storm that has swept through parts of Upstate New York and Vermont. Due to utility damage and power outages, Bell Atlantic Mobile's wireless equipment, network and services have played a key role in providing communications and emergency assistance to utility companies and state and government officials. Bell Atlantic Mobile reported increases in wireless usage (based on comparisons of usage patterns from similar weekdays/weekends) in the following areas:
- Alburg area: 500% increase in call volume from January 7 through January 11 and 1,000% increase in January 9 and 10.
- St. Albans area: increases of 150-200% since the storm onset Jan. 7.
- Additional channel capacity was added to the hardest hit areas. Battery and generator backup enabled the system to operate continuously with minimal outage throughout the storm and its aftermath.
- Bell Atlantic Mobile donated 15 phones and resources to the American Red Cross.
To assist in disaster/emergency relief efforts, Bell Atlantic Mobile donated cellular equipment to:
- FEMA (Federal Emergency Medical Assistance), who activated 115 wireless numbers.
- Governor George Pataki and his New York State Executive Chamber, who headed up a survey team for disaster relief.
- Clinton County Emergency Team, who activated 30 lines.
- New York State Division of Military and Naval Affairs, who activated 35 lines.