The Federal Communications Commission said many of the cell towers affected by Sandy are now working only through the help of generators. They could run out of diesel fuel before commercial power will be restored said the FCC.
Landline phones are faring surprisingly well compared to wireless cell phone services in the affected area, which spreads from Massachusetts to Virginia. However, the FCC noted that
About a quarter of cable customers are not getting their services.
The FCC did not say the figure for customers in the affected area.
Call centers helping first responders are said to be doing well despite the situation with just a few failures said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski. Callers for 911 services are being redirected to other centers although there may some delays or difficulties in automatically locating the origin of calls.
Superstorm Sandy wreaked massive damage but it also caused flooding in southern Manhattan that affected the world’s densest communication nodes creating outages that forced popular websites out of service. Some telecom carriers were also forced to reroute international traffic because the nodes were drenched.
As southern Manhattan, particularly the southern tip, were cut off by rising waters, facilities of phone companies and data centers were forced to use their emergency back up generators running diesel fuel. Centers that failed to maintain power after running out of diesel fuel caused downtimes for sites like the Huffington Post, Gawker, and many other New York-based blogs.
Some of these sites were down until Tuesday including Gawker although Huffington Post came back online sooner. Webhost Datagram Inc blamed the flooding in their basement and lack of diesel fuel for generators. Three other Internet providers were not able to maintain their services.
New York’s so called “telcom hotel”, a whole block that houses the headquarters of Google in the city, were also reporting some outages due to some power failures on their backup generators when commercial power was cutoff last Monday evening.
Internet nodes monitoring firm Renesys Corp said that the flooding caused major outages in both New York and New Jersey. New York is major node in the entire global telecommunications traffic and carriers are scrambling to reroute traffic to avoid it.
Cablevision System Corp serving New Jersey, New York, and Long Island also revealed to be experiencing service outages due to power issues. The company is still trying to determine how New Jersey area is faring at it was hit the hardest.
Another big cable company serving in New York, the Time Warner Cable Inc, said that they have no reports of damage in its network so far although customers without power cannot also use their cable service.
Meanwhile, AT&T said some areas are reportedly being hit hard and are having some “issues” although it is still in the early stages of checking for damage.