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Verizon Hardest Hit as Telcos Scramble to Recover from Hurricane Sandy

By Craig Galbraith
October 31, 2012 - News

Updated: 10:15 a.m. ET, Nov. 1

The nation's telcos continue to plug away at the massive job of restoring service after Hurricane Sandy blasted the Eastern Seaboard Monday night.

Verizon released a statement Wednesday afternoon, saying it's making progress.

"Our wireless network has performed well in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Due in large part to the billions of dollars of investment made to our Northeast Wireless Network, including the installation of permanent backup generators at most cell sites, more than 94 percent of our towers from Maine to Virginia are currently operational and supporting customers," the carrier announced.

Verizon was probably the worst hit of the biggest telcos, experiencing flooding at central offices in New York City that are home to telecom equipment. The lobby in its downtown headquarters had three feet of water in it.

All of that chaos resulted in spotty coverage for customers.

"Sandy has left a trail of destruction throughout the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, with historic flooding in New York and New Jersey and a hurricane-fueled snowstorm in southwest Virginia and western Maryland," said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon's consumer and mass business division. "We are asking the public to remain focused on staying safe as there may be dangerous conditions such as fallen trees or power lines. Our dedicated employees – from technicians to customer service consultants – run to a crisis and will continue to do what it takes to put customers back in touch."

AT&T said it got its crews on the ground quickly after the storm passed, and it too, was slowly, but surely, having success restoring service.

"We are making progress in areas that were especially hard-hit, including New York City and New Jersey, where flooding, power loss, transportation and debris all pose challenges. We are working around the clock, including conducting ongoing damage assessment, rapid deployment of generators and equipment, and movement of key personnel from around the region and country, such as engineers and technicians, in order to restore service as quickly as possible," the company said in a prepared statement.

The carrier also announced it would extend the late-payment window for wireless and wireline customers who are behind, waive late payment fees and will not disconnect services because of non-payment.

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