Communications: Disconnected, Part 2

Disconnected, Part 2

In a country with the world's most renowned phone system, plain old breakdowns aren't supposed to happen. But lately America has been coming unhooked. The most recent epidemic began on June 26, when 6.3 million customers in Washington, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia lost service for up to eight hours. The same day, phone circuits went haywire in two Southern California area codes. Then, last week, 1 million Bell of Pennsylvania customers temporarily lost service, as did dialers in San Francisco. The scourge of breakdowns was eerily reminiscent of the January 1990 collapse of AT&T;'s long- distance system.

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