Restoring wired service after Sandy may take 2 weeks, Verizon says

In the worst-hit areas, lack of power is preventing the carrier from bringing back phone, Internet and video service

Consumers in the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Sandy may not get wired phone, Internet and video service back for as long as two weeks, Verizon Communications warned on Friday, while the FCC reported continued slow progress by carriers in restoring mobile coverage.

The wired service outages could include the company's high-speed FiOS fiber-optic service as well as data and voice services over copper lines, Verizon spokesman Alberto Canal said. Verizon can't restore many of its services in areas that still don't have commercial power, he said. For safety reasons, the carrier's crews have to wait until power cables are placed before bringing communications back, he said.

Friday's time estimate by Verizon, the incumbent wireline carrier based in New York, was its longest yet. Though service is steadily being restored, the deadly storm that made landfall late Monday with ferocious winds, rain and floods has proved also to be a lingering communications catastrophe for residents of some areas.

Verizon's own headquarters suffered major flooding, though that building and four other facilities in lower Manhattan and Long Island have been brought back online with emergency power. The carrier's crews are working around the clock to restore backup power to several other flooded sites in lower Manhattan and Queens.

Mobile service also is coming back slowly. As of 10 a.m. Eastern Time on Friday, 15 percent of cell sites were still out of action, according to the U.S. Federal Communications Commission. That's an improvement from 19 percent of sites down on Thursday morning.

The new figure is slightly more positive than it seems, because the agency has tightened the region in which it's estimating mobile outages. The Friday report covers 146 counties in seven states. The FCC is no longer collecting data from Delaware, Massachusetts or Rhode Island because it says service in those states has been largely restored.

In that same seven-state area, 17 percent of cable subscribers were without service, higher than the 12-14 percent reported on Thursday across the larger region. The new figures also incorporated the first report from a cable provider serving hard-hit areas, the FCC said.

The agency said carriers are reporting improvements in the availability of fuel for generators bringing emergency power to communications gear.

All the major mobile operators say they are deploying emergency cell sites on wheels to serve areas without coverage, with some of those sites offering facilities for local residents to charge their phones.

Verizon's mobile arm, Verizon Wireless, said 97 percent of its cell sites throughout storm-hit areas of the Northeast were operational as of Friday morning. It said coverage was approaching pre-storm levels in most areas. In hard-hit areas such as lower Manhattan, coverage was below normal levels but was good, the company said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags governmentmobileregulationtelecommunicationCarriersU.S. Federal Communications CommissionVerizon WirelessVerizon Communications

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Cool Tech

Toys for Boys

Family Friendly

Stocking Stuffer

SmartLens - Clip on Phone Camera Lens Set of 3

Learn more >

Christmas Gift Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Aysha Strobbe

Microsoft Office 365/HP Spectre x360

Microsoft Office continues to make a student’s life that little bit easier by offering reliable, easy to use, time-saving functionality, while continuing to develop new features that further enhance what is already a formidable collection of applications

Michael Hargreaves

Microsoft Office 365/Dell XPS 15 2-in-1

I’d recommend a Dell XPS 15 2-in-1 and the new Windows 10 to anyone who needs to get serious work done (before you kick back on your couch with your favourite Netflix show.)

Maryellen Rose George

Brother PT-P750W

It’s useful for office tasks as well as pragmatic labelling of equipment and storage – just don’t get too excited and label everything in sight!

Cathy Giles

Brother MFC-L8900CDW

The Brother MFC-L8900CDW is an absolute stand out. I struggle to fault it.

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?