In addition to flooding data centers and taking some websites offline, Hurricane Sandy has also knocked out communications on the East Coast. Mobile communications are particularly hard hit as many cell towers experienced storm damage.
TechCrunch’s Jordan Crook reported, “According to the FCC, 25 percent of cell towers in ten states were disrupted or damaged during the Hurricane. Landline outages are ‘far fewer’ but 25 percent of cable services have also gone down, meaning many are without news updates at all.”
A Reuters report added, “Floods, high winds, snow and related power outages brought on by Hurricane Sandy knocked out a small number of 911 call centers, forcing the emergency service to be re-routed, the Federal Communications Commission’s top official said on Tuesday.”
The Register quoted FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski who said, “This was and still is a devastating storm with a serious impact on our nation’s communications infrastructure.” He continued, “The storm is not over. And our assumption is that communications outages could get worse before they get better, particularly for mobile networks, because of the flooding and loss of power.”
Bloomberg’s Todd Shields and Ryan Faughnder observed, “New Yorkers went to great lengths to stay connected. At a Duane Reade pharmacy at 34th Street and Eighth Avenue, visitors unplugged the lights on a Christmas tree to recharge their mobile phones in the outlets. One man ducked into an unmanned Chase branch on 60th Street near Lexington Avenue to plug in a phone at the end of a line of ATMs.”