Communications Networks Stand Strong During Irene

While some on the East Coast wade through the flooding caused by Hurricane Irene, at least their cell phones still work, for the most part.

The FCC says its still assessing just how many wireless and wireline outages were caused by the storm, but most regions communications infrastructure weathered it OK.

The good news, based on these initial reports, is that there hasn’t been major damage to our communications infrastructure, except for damage along coastal regions hit hard by the storm,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski on Sunday.

All 9-1-1 centers maintained service, Genachowski said, with no outages related to public safety communications. A significant number” of cable customers in North Carolina had their service knocked out by Irene, but telecommunications fared much better than expected. That being said, the hurricanes impact isnt over.

The FCC will remain vigilant as we address continued outages from flooding and commercial power outages,” Genachowski said. During this time we have activated our 24-7 response capabilities and have resources deployed in the field and monitor and respond, as appropriate, to outages.”

Genachowski added that the FCC continues to work with its state and federal partners on plans for an interoperable mobile broadband public safety network; a new mobile alerting system; and Next Gen 911, which will allow people to send texts, videos and photos to 9-1-1 during emergencies.

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