The three biggest names in U.S. telecom say they are making strides toward restoring service in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy – and are trying to make life easier for their customers as well.
Verizon says its engineers and technicians have restored backup power to four critical facilities in lower Manhattan and one on Long Island that suffered severe flood damage and lost commercial power, including the company's headquarters at 140 West St. These facilities provide phone, Internet and TV services for consumers and small businesses in the area, as well as sophisticated cloud and data communications for financial services, other enterprises and government agencies.
"Thousands of our dedicated employees are bringing customers' services back across the affected area," said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon's Consumer and Mass Business division, in a statement Thursday. "Unfortunately, the extent of the storm damage – including lingering power outages and inaccessible roadways – in harder-hit areas like New Jersey and the New York City metro area makes full restoration a marathon and not a sprint.
Verizon says its Enterprise Solutions division is working with government agencies, power companies and other recovery organizations and collaborating with its clients in the health care, energy, utilities and transportation sectors to identify critical issues to ensure "a return to normalcy."
In many of the impacted areas, Verizon Enterprise Solutions is enabling clients' business continuity plans, operating with wireless backup and additional equipment to those in the government and financial sectors. Cloud and data centers operated by Verizon and Verizon Terremark – which the companies' clients rely on to help them protect, manage and monitor their IT infrastructure and data – performed particularly well through the storm, the company says, and service was unaffected.
Customers are able to charge their devices at many Verizon FiOS and Verizon Wireless stores, as well as several mobile stores-on-wheels, in the hard-hit New Jersey and New York areas.
The carrier also said it has donated $100,000 to the American Red Cross and is contributing $2 for every dollar of employee donations to the Red Cross and Salvation Army.
AT&T is also contributing to the relief effort, announcing a $250,000 grant to the Red Cross Disaster Relief fund.
The Dallas-based carrier says it is extending the late-payment window for wireless and wireline customers who are behind, is waiving late-payment fees and will not disconnect services because of non-payment.
While Sandy didn't batter AT&T as badly as it did Verizon, the company says its disaster response team has been fully engaged and is working around the clock to ensure the flow of wireless and wireline services in the affected areas.