Since Hurricane Sandy hit the NY area this week, several major mobile phone carriers have been unable to offer wireless phone service in lower Manhattan. Downtown residents report that they have to come above 39th St. to receive cellphone service, as Verizon Communications said downed networks were due to attributed flooding and power loss at two critical Manhattan switching stations. According to The Wall Street Journal, the company also saw damage to Long Island and Queens facilities and has had outages in Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, West Virginia and Ohio.
Moreover, even though generators and backup power creates redundancy, telecom companies are still vulnerable to damage from flooding, wind and downed trees. About a quarter of the cellphone towers on the East Coast were wiped out. The Federal Communications Commission said to The Wall Street Journal that it didn’t have figures for how many customers were affected by telecommunications damage, but estimated that nearly a quarter of all broadband and television-cable customers are without service. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said outages could get worse before getting better.
The Wall Street Journal (wireless story)
The Wall Street Journal (generators story)