In the aftermath of Sandy’s havoc, Federal Communication Commission reported that cellular phone services absorbed a big hit after 25 percent of the nations wireless companies’ cellular sites in 10 states are toppled by the ravaging winds of the superstorm.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said during Tuesday’s press conference communication services will likely to get worse before it gets better as Sandy continues to rip through the Eastern shore of the United States.
“This was and still is a devastating storm with a serious impact on our nation’s communications infrastructure,” Genachowski said during a conference call with press Tuesday afternoon. “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.”
FCC’s public safety and home security bureau chief David Turetsky said they are anticipating more communication disruptions as the storm moves westward towards the state of Michigan.
According to FCC, Cable Operators claimed 25 percent of their consumers have been deprived of broadband services in areas severely hit by the storm, specifically Virginia and Massachusetts.
“We’ve seen broadband and social media continue to play an important role in communication for people during this storm,” he said. “Social media is a critical platform for sharing information with loved ones. And it’s been vital in keeping those other communications networks open for first responders.”
The FCC also claimed that the storm have affected only a small number of 911 call centers, though the agency didn’t specify an exact number. Moreover, there were some 911 call centers that opted to transfer or reroute calls to a predetermined backup call center.
“911 continuity is absolutely vital,” said Genachowski. “We take these issues very seriously. And we’re looking into how we can help. The FCC’s emergency response team has been working with FEMA and state and local officials to resolve these issues.”