Communications Restoration Efforts from Hurricane Sandy Continue (11/2/12)
Friday, November 02, 2012 | Comments

As of Nov. 2, calls are being received at 9-1-1 dispatch centers in areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, although some calls are still being re-routed to other 9-1-1 centers or do not contain location information.

“We have reached out to every affected 9-1-1 center and the relevant state authorities, and we are talking to communications providers about what can be done to address this,” said David Turetsky, chief of the FCC’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau (PSHSB).

In addition, the number of cell site outages overall declined from about 25 percent to 15 percent on Friday. The percentage of cell sites that are down includes many cases where cell sites that are otherwise operational are effectively inoperable because of outages in other parts of the communications infrastructure, which is highly interdependent. Cable service outages declined to approximately 12 percent to 14 percent, from initial outages estimates of 25 percent, Turetsky said.

“Overall, we’re seeing both continued improvement in communications networks and also that much work remains to be done to restore service fully,” said FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. “The supply of fuel to generators is essential to keep communications service up and running, and we’re working with federal, state and local authorities to speed fuel delivery. This is a priority because our commercial communications networks are essential to emergency response and recovery efforts, as well as to commercial activities and connecting with family.”

The FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) remains activated. DIRS collects data from communications companies about the impacts of the storm. “Restoration efforts in the hardest hit areas — including New York and New Jersey — continues to be more difficult,” Turetsky said. “Replenishing fuel supplies for generators that are enabling communications networks to continue operating is a particularly critical challenge.”

He said FCC field agents have been working with others on the ground in New York City to get fuel to a switching center that serves many communications providers. “We also issued another special temporary authorization (STA), which was to assist an energy company with restoration operations in several states,” Turetsky said. “As recovery efforts continue, our highest priority remains to continue working with all stakeholders to help restore America’s communications infrastructure.”

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