• United States



by Paul Kerstein

BellSouth Works to Repair Damage

Sep 09, 20052 mins
CSO and CISOData and Information Security

BellSouth says the cost of repairing damage to its network from Hurricane Katrina could reach US$600 million.

The carrier, which serves a nine-state region in the Southeast –including the hurricane-torn states of Louisiana, Mississippi andAlabama — says it lost 810,000 lines, roughly one-sixth of the 4.7million lines BellSouth has in service in the area. Earlier this week,BellSouth said 1.75 million lines were affected by the storm.

BellSouth also says 19 of the 131 central offices in the Gulf Coastarea were disabled. Those 19 central offices serve 187,000 accesslines, 166,000 of which are in the devastated city of New Orleans.Restoration plans for these central offices are in development,according to BellSouth.

Service to most customers will be restored within 30 days, the carriersays, though some communities might take longer to rebuild, dependingon when residents and businesses are able to return to these areas andthe time it takes to rebuild local infrastructures.

New Orleans, with floodwaters that might take months to recede, is “anatypical situation,” the carrier says, and because of this BellSouthwill track restoration activity separately.

The carrier is prioritizing service restoration on customers involvedwith public safety concerns and relief efforts. Wireless servicerestoration also is a priority.

“Our overall restoration activities are ongoing and we are making goodprogress daily,” said BellSouth CTO Bill Smith in a statement.

The carrier says it is too early to project the total magnitude ofdestruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. But based on the informationcurrently available and without the opportunity to survey andphysically assess the entire area, BellSouth’s initial estimate is acost of $400 million to $600 million, including both capital andexpense, for network restoration.

BellSouth has about 13,000 employees in Louisiana, Mississippi andAlabama, 6,500 of whom are in areas hardest hit by Katrina. BellSouthhas set up “tent cities” in Baton Rouge and Covington, La.; andGulfport, Hattiesburg and Jackson, Miss., to provide food, shelter,clothing, financial support and employee assistance programs for thoseemployees.

An additional location will be established in Kenner, La. The citiesalso will serve as deployment areas for BellSouth technicians andengineers who will be sent back into impacted areas to restore servicefor customers.

BellSouth did not estimate the drag Katrina will have on its revenue and earnings for the current quarter.

By Jim Duffy – Network World (US)