Customers of US operators are facing mobile outages after Hurricane Sandy tore through the north-east of the country. Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile USA customers have all been affected as flooding, power outages and damage to cell towers have seen services fail.
In an update posted yesterday afternoon, Verizon Wireless stated that there was a Service Emergency in nine states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Delaware, Massachusetts and Maryland.
The US number-one said the storm has caused “significant damage to Verizon locations and equipment along the East Coast”, with flooding and damaged poles and lines causing all Verizon services to fail in some areas.
Verizon added that its engineers were assessing the damage with the aim of restoring services “as quickly as we can”. However, it warned that local power may need to be restored before services can resume in some areas.
A T-Mobile update said the weather conditions may have seen service disruptions with the inability to access services in some areas. The company’s rapid response engineering teams were working as quickly as possible to restore service in affected areas, with restoration work continuing in the harder hit areas of lower Manhattan, Staten Island, Long Island, Northern New Jersey, Connecticut and parts of Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia.
The company added that its network in Washington DC was 90 percent operational, with New York City having 80 percent service availability.
Sprint said on Twitter yesterday afternoon that New Jersey “is having some issues due to Hurricane Sandy,” with the company working to restore service. A Sprint statement seen by TechCrunch said services were being affected in the New York tri-state area, Washington DC, Pennsylvania and parts of New England.
The problems were caused by “loss of commercial power, flooding, loss of cell site backhaul connections, site access and damaging debris,” the company said, adding that its technicians are assessing the damage and servicing sites deemed safe to enter.
In a statement to TechCrunch, AT&T said it was closely monitoring its wireline and wireless networks and “deploying personnel and equipment as soon as it is safe to do so”.
Cnet reported that Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairman Julius Genachowski said in a conference call that mobile services are likely to get worse before they improve due to the widespread flooding and loss of power.
As of 10am Eastern Time yesterday, Genchowski said 25 percent of cell sites in 10 states were not operational. The operators reported the outages as part of the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System.