[opendtv] Re: 11 years after

  • From: AMGMedia@xxxxxxx
  • To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 6 Nov 2012 11:46:40 -0500 (EST)

Northeast slowly comes back to life after Sandy
By Michael Grotticelli

While over-the-air television broadcasters continued to function 
around-the-clock during coverage of Hurricane Sandy, the devastating storm 
cell phone towers, cable systems and wireless communications for ten 
northeastern states. Service was still being restored nearly a week later. This 
was a 
seminal moment for broadcast technology as well, as reporters used 
microphones, camcorders and other devices live on the air despite horrendous 
conditions of excessive water, wind no external power-and for the most part 
everything worked reliably.

Wireless cellular services didn't fair quite as well. The FCC reported that 
the massive storm knocked out 25 percent of wireless mobile towers and a 
fourth of all cable service in the ten states. Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint 
Nextel and T-Mobile USA reported service problems in about 158 counties from 
Virginia to Massachusetts. 

By midweek, the number of cable, telephone and broadband disruptions were 
reduced to âwell underâ 20 percent, an FCC spokesman said. Service was 
slowly being restored on a region-by-region basis. 

Thanks to a series of back-up generators and viewers with portable digital 
TV sets, vital information continued to be distributed despite the harsh 
conditions. Indeed, Local broadcast stations in New York City, Washington, 
Philadelphia, Baltimore and Boston reported the story with little disruption. 
Only a few suffered technical glitches. In many cases, news employees were 
called in for the duration of the storm. It was all hands on deck and stations' 
staff responded.

âEverybody left home on Saturday prepared to be gone for five to seven days,
â Michelle Butt, news director at Hearst's WBAL-TV in Baltimore, told the 
Baltimore Sun newspaper. âYou don't stop covering the storm just because the 
sun comes out.â

Stations who streamed their live coverage on websites and mobile apps 
reported heavy traffic. For example, WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, the ABC O&O, 
achieved 13.1 million page views across mobile and desktop on October 29th (a 
single day record) and had over nine million page views on Sunday, October 28th.

During the storm, a âsmall numberâ of 911 call centers, whose locations 
were not revealed, went out of service but most of their traffic was rerouted 
to others centers, FCC chairman Julius Genachowski told reporters in a 
conference call. Some of those re-routed were to centers without electronic 
location information telling the cell center where the call originated. 

The call centers are the responsibility of the phone companies to maintain. 
It was the second time since this June that 911 service has faced 
weather-related failures. In the summer, it was from a violent wind and 
which knocked out service for about one million people in Northern 

âOur assumption is that communication outages could get worse before they 
get better,â Genachowski said last week. That's because cell towers running 
on backup generators went down before electrical power was restored. 

Utility companies estimated by mid-week that as many as eight million 
customers were without electricity and it could be several days or even weeks 
before restoration of service. Flooding or snow damaged other cell sites.

Verizon reported six percent of its cell sites down, while T-Mobile 
reported 20 percent of its network in New York City alone was out of service. 
would not give the status of its system.

Verizon, based in New York City, had flooding at three central offices with 
telecommunications equipment in Lower Manhattan, Queens and Long Island, 
Reuters reported. Its downtown headquarters, which serves most of Wall Street, 
had three feet of water in the lobby.

Network and series television production in New York City, knocked out by 
the storm, gradually came back by week's end. Universal Television's 30 Rock 
went back into production on Wednesday and Smash and Deception in New York 
and Do No Harm in Philadelphia resumed production on Thursday. 

David Letterman taped a couple of shows without a studio audience at his 
CBS theatre in midtown Manhattan. Comedy Central's The Daily Show and The 
Colbert Report resumed taping Wednesday night after being shut down.

âOverall, the condition of our communications networks is improving, but 
serious outages remain, particularly in New York, New Jersey and other 
hard-hit areas,â FCC chairman Genachowski added. âWe are continuing to work 
closely with FEMA and our other federal, state, and local partners-as well as 
communications companies-in response efforts. 

âIn the days and weeks ahead, we will continue to expect the unexpected as 
the full picture of Hurricane Sandy's impact on communications networks 
develops. The crisis is not over. We'll continue to be intensely focused on 
helping with the full recovery of wired and wireless communications 

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