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TELEPHONE NETWORK SUFFERS LITTLE DAMAGE FROM ANDREW

 TELEPHONE NETWORK SUFFERS LITTLE DAMAGE FROM ANDREW
 NEW ORLEANS, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- South Central Bell said that telephone technicians are being dispatched to restore service outages as soon as flooding has subsided and power hazards have been cleared from hard-hit areas of southeastern Louisiana.
 Cathye McDonald, a Bell spokesman in New Orleans, said that the company currently had reports of about 5,000 lines out of service, and about one-fourth of its switching offices were on backup power as a precaution, but it appeared that outages were very localized in nature.
 Bell is moving in portable coin telephones into some areas of heavy damage for use by those who no longer have access to phones in their homes or businesses.
 "Overall, we're very pleased with our network performance during this extreme emergency," said McDonald. "The backbone of our system -- our 260-plus switching offices and our major feeder cables -- continued to operate throughout the storm. We were able to take a number of precautions before the storm hit to get ready, and this has apparently really paid off.
 "Generally, our service losses have been associated with limbs falling on the wires serving individual residences or businesses and damage to the wiring on the inside of buildings caused by local flooding."
 Survey crews are out evaluating damage to lines, and Bell also expects to receive reports of substantial numbers of additional service outages when residents return to evacuated areas. These outages can be reported statewide by calling 1-557-6111 (residences) or 1-557-6123 (businesses). Both of these are toll-free numbers.
 In addition to its 6,400 Louisiana employees, the company said that it has employees on standby in nearby states to assist in repair efforts if this becomes necessary.
 McDonald also said that the company is now working with the government's Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to set up communications to a temporary office being established in Baton Rouge to assist storm victims.
 -0- 8/27/92
 /CONTACT: Cathye McDonald of South Central Bell, 504-528-2216/ CO: South Central Bell ST: Louisiana IN: TLS SU:


BN-BR -- AT019 -- 4155 08/27/92 17:34 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 27, 1992
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