FCC: ‘The storm is not over’

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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The Federal Communications Commission is reporting that Superstorm Sandy damaged major communications networks during its assault on the Eastern Seaboard Monday.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski told reporters Tuesday during a conference call that flooding, high winds and snow disabled 25 percent of cell towers, cable TV, broadband Internet and landlines in affected areas

He also said that several 911 call centers were also disabled during the storm.

“The storm is not over. Our assumption is that communications outages could get worse before they get better — particularly for mobile,” he said.

The Hill reported that “[b]efore the storm hit on Monday, Genachowski spoke to the chief executives of the major communications companies, discussing preparedness efforts and offering the commission’s resources and support.”

On Monday, the agency’s Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau announced the activation of the Disaster Information Reporting System.

The system, according to a public notice released by the agency, is a “voluntary, web-based system that communications providers, including wireless, wireline, broadcast, cable and Voice over Internet Protocol providers, can use to report communications infrastructure status and situational awareness during times of crisis.”

“The FCC will coordinate with the companies, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and state officials to restore service,” said The Hill.

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Josh Peterson