Terrorism struck the US on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Although Ericsson did not have offices in the World Trade Center, the event nonetheless had dramatic effects. Employees at Ericsson Mobility World, which had offices just a few blocks away from "Ground Zero" on Manhattan, saw how the buildings began to burn. And how people in desperation began jumping from the windows to a certain death.
None of Ericsson's employees died in the terrorist attack, but as soon as it became known what had happened, the company closed its offices in both New York and Washington and sent home the personnel. Directly thereafter, a crisis center was established in Texas to locate all employees that might be in the US and to ensure that they were uninjured.
Ericsson employees also began immediately helping in rescue work in various ways. The load on the telecom network, primarily in New York and Washington DC, nearly doubled in the hours after the attacks. The American telecom giant AT&T therefore gave Ericsson free hands to shut down unnecessary applications to reduce the load. Ericsson also helped in the days after the attacks with setting up extra mobile antennas around the ruins of the World Trade Center to increase coverage. And help was also provided, along with the telecom operator Cingular, with staffing a 24-hour center where rescue personnel could charge their mobile phones.
When resumption of normal operations began some days later, the assistance continued. All Ericsson employees in the US were offered for example, one day of paid leave of absence to help in clearance work. Many also chose to donate blood, and on Thursday a minute of silence was held for the victims at all the company's job sites worldwide.
Ericsson contributed in rescue work thereafter by developing a special computer program that could be used to identify mobile phones found in the debris. A special account was also opened in which employees could donate money to the survivors and these donations were matched by equally large sums. Additionally, the company donated a larger lump sum.
Author: Anders Edwardsson