SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 21 -- SBC California announced it is sending more than 45 California-based technicians and managers, as well as trucks and equipment, to assist in the rebuilding of the telecommunications infrastructure in the greater New Orleans region that was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. SBC is one of several communications companies that have responded to the disaster. (See also Communications Companies Rally to Help Hurricane Katrina Victims, and Firms Donate Funds, Technology to Relief Efforts):
Starting today, SBC California will begin deploying trucks and equipment to San Antonio from two SBC West locations. Technicians from across the state will fly to San Antonio to pick up equipment and vehicles and then travel to Covington, La., near New Orleans, to begin restoration work.
Part of the SBC California response includes providing six microwave telecommunications trailers for temporary phone service during natural disasters. Bell South, the primary telecommunications provider in the region, plans to deploy these portable trailers in rural areas until the telecommunications network is rebuilt; some of these units provided emergency communications to San Diego County residents during the huge 2003 firestorm.
In response to requests from BellSouth, SBC companies will initially send up to 140 technicians from California, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri and Arkansas to provide network and technical support to assist in the recovery efforts and additional technicians will be provided on an as-needed basis. The team is expected to begin work next week and continue to be available through mid-December.
In addition to technicians, SBC companies have provided technology through a commitment of more than $4 million a month in services, including free local and long distance calling, Internet service and voice mail boxes made available to Katrina evacuees. The SBC Foundation is matching employee and retiree contributions up to $2 million and SBC employees and retirees have also donated their time at evacuation shelters and by sponsoring donation drives and assembling care packages.