HOUSTON , Feb. 9, 2005 – With the devastating tsunami in the Indian Ocean prompting questions about the relative safety of coastal areas around the world, AT&T has selected Houston to host its next Network Disaster Recovery (NDR) exercise. It will begin on Monday, February 21, at the Omni Houston Hotel Westside. The initiative is designed to test and evaluate how well the company can respond to a simulated disaster.

The NDR exercise, conducted several times each year, is part of AT&T’s comprehensive business continuity plan to ensure communications can be restored quickly to its government, business and consumer customers if a disaster damages or destroys parts of its network. Experience gained from the exercise is used to strengthen business continuity services for AT&T’s customers and to refine the company’s disaster response systems.

According to a recent study by AT&T and the Partnership for Public Warning, many businesses are gambling their futures by not taking appropriate steps to safeguard their ability to continue operations in the event of a disaster.  Among national companies surveyed, fewer than three in four have a written plan that prepares for business disruptions.  Of the companies that have a plan, nearly 25 percent have not updated it during the past year and more than 40 percent haven’t tested it in the past year.

During the past 10 years, AT&T has invested more than $300 million in its NDR program. It is the industry’s only mobile, full-readiness NDR team, allowing AT&T to monitor, manage and proactively protect the networks of its customers around the world.

“The devastation caused by the tsunami is a powerful illustration that unexpected disasters of enormous proportions can happen without a moment’s notice,” said Phil Johnson, AT&T regional vice president. “The key to rapid recovery is to have a disaster plan in place and periodically practice, which is what this exercise is all about.”

AT&T’s NDR team includes specially trained managers, engineers and technicians from across the United States, as well as a fleet of more than 150 self-contained equipment-trailers and support vehicles that house the same equipment and components as an AT&T data-routing or voice-switching center.

Since 1990, the NDR team has been activated 12 times in response to disasters, including restoring service after south Florida’s devastating Hurricane Andrew in 1992, the Northridge, California earthquake in 1994, and tornadoes in Oklahoma in 1999. In 2001, the team mobilized to provide recovery services following the tragic attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. In October 2003, AT&T mobilized a portion of its recovery fleet in response to the San Diego wildfires to aid in the restoration of communication services and to help individuals displaced by the fires to keep in touch with family.

The company will follow up on its NDR exercise with a Networking Leaders’ Forum on Tuesday, February 22, at the Omni Houston Hotel Westside, 13210 Katy Freeway. The event will bring together AT&T executives, business customers and outside experts to discuss the latest trends in business continuity and disaster recovery. More information on AT&T’s NDR program is available at www.att.com/ndr.

The AT&T Foundation has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross International Response Fund to aid survivors of the devastation caused by the earthquake and tsunami in eastern Africa and southern Asia.  The AT&T Foundation is also matching AT&T employee contributions of $25 or more to the International Response Fund, for up to a total of $500,000 in matching donations for this disaster relief effort.

About AT&T
For more than 125 years, AT&T (NYSE “T”) has been known for unparalleled quality and reliability in communications. Backed by the research and development capabilities of AT&T Labs, the company is a global leader in local, long distance, Internet and transaction-based voice and data services.

Editor’s note:  The AT&T Network Disaster Recovery exercise will be conducted at the Omni Houston Hotel Westside.  Members of the media are invited to visit the exercise between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, February 21 and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Tuesday, February 22. To ensure interview requests can be managed in a timely manner, please contact Dan Keeney at 832-467-2904.