September 21, 2001, 3:58 PM — Ten days after terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center in New York wiped out telecommunication services in parts of lower Manhattan, major telecom carriers reported swift and steady progress in restoring the damaged infrastructure.
Verizon Communications Inc. spokesman Mark Marchand said Friday that the carrier was "working around the clock" to restore service, and expects that many customers will be back up by Wednesday or Thursday of next week.
Still, "there are cables buried under tons of rubble ... We still don't know the full extent of the damage," Marchand said.
Verizon's switching office at 140 West St. in Manhattan, adjacent to the World Trade Center, was seriously damaged when the Twin Towers collapsed after two hijacked planes plowed into the buildings Sept. 11.
Although Marchand said three out of four of the switches in that West St. facility had been restored, and were operating on backup power since general power is still out in the area, the major issues are with the cables, many of which are still shrouded with rubble.
"We are working on a case-by-case basis," Marchand said."We are even running some cables above ground, to bypass damaged areas, and connecting them to cables that we know are not damaged."
Following last week's attack, Verizon began restoring service in phases, beginning with emergency services, such as police, fire departments and hospitals. The carrier then focused its efforts on getting the New York Stock Exchange up and running, and now it is attending to its West St. facility customers.
Meanwhile, AT&T Corp., which competes with Verizon through its AT&T Local Network Services subsidiary, has restored most of its key services, said spokesman Dave Johnson Friday.
"Our goal was to supply all of our major business customers with sufficient voice and data services by Monday, and we did that," Johnson said. The spokesman noted, however, that some more minor services, such as voice mail, had yet to be restored.
AT&T lost fiber-optic equipment that resided in the basement of the World Trade Center, and also suffered some damage to switches, located across the street.
"We don't know the full extent of the damage to the fiber-optic cable yet," Johnson said. "(Fiber-optic cables are) pure glass and the impact of those huge buildings falling has to have shattered some of that glass."
Despite the fact that AT&T and Verizon are industry rivals, Johnson said that the two companies have been working together closely to reestablish services and get customers connected.
"From day one we were working hand and glove with Verizon," Johnson said. "Right now there's no such thing as competition in lower Manhattan."