AT&T wireless unit vows to fix problems by May 15

Customers experiencing service interruptions might receive credits

Communications

April 19, 2000|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,SUN STAFF

AT&T Corp.'s wireless telecommunications unit pledged yesterday to resolve service interruptions in the Baltimore-Washington area by May 15 and said customers experiencing call blockages could get credits, including up to a month of free service.

Baltimore-Washington area wireless communications customers have been experiencing service problems for the past several weeks, including frequent busy signals when they attempt to place a call, dropped calls and intermittent voice-mail service, the company acknowledged.

Christopher Doherty, a spokesman in AT&T wireless' regional office in Beltsville, said the problems are being caused by delays as a vendor installs new fiber-optic cable lines in the nation's capital.

The company leases space on fiber-optic lines owned by Bell Atlantic Corp., which is expanding its lines in the D.C. area, said Doherty.

The delay has caused a capacity shortage, leading to some calls, especially those in Washington, being temporarily blocked from going through.

Calls being placed in the Baltimore area have generally not been blocked, said Doherty.

AT&T wireless blames the delay on a temporary D.C. government-imposed moratorium on fiber-optic cable installation. That was put in place to give D.C. administrators and fiber-optic installers time to resolve installation problems that have interrupted traffic and city services, AT&T's Doherty said.

AT&T wireless has been attempting to avoid service interruptions by routing calls from cell phone antennas to its existing long-distance land lines in the area. Customers who experience service interruptions, said Doherty, can seek refunds and credits on monthly bills. Some customers are being offered up to a month of free service, he said.

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