Fire knocks out service to 50 AT&T business customers

Fifty of AT&T's business customers, including Sovereign Bank, were without service for 19 hours, on Wednesday night, due to a fire in a manhole in downtown Philadelphia.

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Fifty of AT&T's business customers, including Sovereign Bank, were without service for 19 hours, on Wednesday night, due to a fire in a manhole in downtown Philadelphia.

AT&T spokesman Jason Hillery said multiple AT&T fiber-optic network cables were damaged by a fire in manholes on Market Street about 8:15 pm Wednesday, causing the outage. Service was not restored to most businesses until 3:15 pm Thursday.

During the outage, Sovereign's Personal Online Banking, BillPay and its telephone banking service was unavailable, said Carl Brown, spokesman for Philadelphia-based Sovereign. In addition, some branch offices outside the Philadelphia area were affected, he said. Tellers in some branch offices were unable to provide customers with up-to-date account information, he said. Cash machines, however, were available for all transactions.

The damage resulted in service disruptions for about 50 business customers, AT&T stated in statement, but the company declined to name the affected businesses.

AT&T said it worked with city and state officials and managers of the manhole system to secure access to the area to repair the network.

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