October 29, 2012
Service Providers Prepare For Hurricane Sandy
Michael Harper for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
With Hurricane Sandy just hours away from landing on the East Coast, wireless providers are preparing their networks for the worst.
As with any major weather event, telecommunications networks are often hit the hardest and are therefore prone to outages and disrupted service. Now, as cities along the Eastern Seaboard are being evacuated and public transportation is grinding to a halt, the nation´s wireless carriers say they´re ready for their networks to stand up to the test. New Jersey-based Verizon Wireless issued a statement today saying they´re wrapping up their emergency plans to keep their customers connected throughout this weather crisis.
Additionally, Verizon has said their retail stores are set to remain open, local conditions and evacuations permitting. These stores have received extra stock of car phone chargers and other charging devices to help their customers´ devices weather the storm.
“Verizon Wireless stands ready to serve our customers, and I urge everyone first and foremost to stay safe,” said CEO Dan Mead in the statement. “We live and work in the towns and cities in the storm´s path, and we are dedicated to keeping our friends, families and neighbors connected in times like these. We prepare for situations like this year-round, and pride ourselves in our ability to be there for our customers when they count on us most.”
AT&T has also said they´re prepared for the storm, saying they´re equipped with an "arsenal of disaster response equipment and personnel on standby" to respond to any issues which may arise as a result of Hurricane Sandy. AT&T also reiterated that they conduct year-round drills for just such an occasions and have already installed "back-up and permanent generators at critical cell sites and switching facilities."
Sprint, too, is moving portable generators to the areas which are most likely to feel the brunt effects of Sandy. They´ve also shut down some of their stores in New York, New Jersey and Massachusetts today in anticipation of the storm.
Comcast customers received phone calls over the weekend to let them know they could sign up to get updates on outages and other alerts on their mobile phones. While they promised to send alerts and updates to their customers, Comcast also sent out emails saying their customers who live in affected areas are likely to lose one or more of their services due to the storm.
"We are taking incremental measures to ensure we are best equipped to manage this storm while keeping the safety of our employees and customers a top priority," said Comcast in a statement. "This includes increasing staffing and strategically placing employees in key locations throughout the company, preparing back-up generators and other supplies and coordinating closely with power companies and local and state emergency workers.”
While these service providers are doing their part to make sure their networks can withstand the extra strain, the FCC is asking citizens in dangerous areas to limit their non-emergency phone calls. Those who need to get in touch with their loved ones may also do better to send text messages as opposed to making a phone call.