Cable Technology Feature Article
Sandy Knocks Out Telecommunications Systems Across the East Coast
By David Delony, Contributing Writer
As immaterial as the Internet feels, it still depends on telephone, cable and wireless networks snaking across the U.S. and the world. Hurricane Sandy has proven how vulnerable this communications infrastructure is, knocking out connectivity to more than one million customers across the eastern seaboard since coming ashore on Monday. The storm has also knocked out 25 percent of the cell phone towers in the U.S.
“This was and still is a devastating storm, with a substantial and serious impact on our country’s communications infrastructure,” Federal Communication Commission Chairman Julius Genachowski told Bloomberg (News - Alert).
The FCC is currently tracking outages in ten states and 150 counties across the region.
Local coffee shops that are open and still have power have become lifelines for people trying to get in touch with business associates or loved ones.
“I had [power] until last night around midnight and it went out,” Jonathan Wiener, a Columbia University graduate student told Bloomberg at a Starbucks in New York City. “We still have certain channels of cable. It’s really random. And no Internet.”
Verizon (News - Alert), Sprint and AT&T all suffered outages due to downed lines and flooding in key facilities due to the storm.
Approximately 1.7 million customers in the New York area were without cable TV service as well. Another 65,000 in upstate New York lost access to cable as well. On the other hand, most customers were still able to access 911 services, with only a small minority unable to access emergency services.
Cablevision Systems (News - Alert) Corp. experienced widespread outages, while Comcast’s outages were mainly due to power outages instead of damage to its network. Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable was also unscathed, and planned to be up and running as soon as the power came back on.
Sandy has knocked out power to around eight million people along the East Coast, with 2.5 million in New York and two million in New Jersey.
Edited by Rachel Ramsey