US providers resilient in the wake of Hurricane Sandy

31 October 2012 |


US service providers proved resilient in the wake of Hurricane Sandy with disruption kept to a minimum despite widespread damage and flooding.

The storm has resulted in power outages for over 7.5 million people in the northeast of the US with authorities stating that power restoration could take up to four days for the New York underground system and up to seven days for restoration of aerial power facilities in the northeast territory.

Metro provider Zayo said that as a result of the widespread power outages, several of its facilities were operating on emergency generators. The company’s 165 Halsey site in New Jersey is operating normally and its emergency generator was recently refuelled to allow operation throughout the power outage.

Zayo’s 111 8th Avenue site in New York is also operating normally through an in-building generator system which has an estimated three days of run time remaining.

At the provider’s 60 Hudson Street, New York site there was a failure of the building operated water cooling system but all systems are now operating normally with refuelling scheduled to take place last night.

Zayo has 12 smaller sites operating on generator power but said there were no concerns at this time.

Six fibre cuts in the vicinity of New York and Philadelphia were also being repaired by Zayo’s field technicians and the company told US IP customers with transatlantic connectivity that they may experience suboptimal IP routing to European destinations or vice versa until connectivity across the TAT-14 transatlantic system is restored.

Elsewhere, data centre provider CoreSite said all of its sites remain operational, including those in the path of the hurricane in New York, Somerville, Reston and Washington.

Only CoreSite’s New York facility was impacted but there was no disruption for customers after the site on 32 Avenue of the Americas switched over to generator power on the evening of October 29.

The provider said it remained confident in its ability to continue running on emergency generators as long as necessary given that fuel deliveries had been secured.

“Our thoughts go out to the people and communities affected by the devastation of this storm," said Tom Ray, president and CEO at CoreSite. "Amidst this much bigger picture, we are striving to ensure our customers have timely and accurate information as to the current state of site operations and understand how to reach us. We will issue further updates as and when necessary."

CenturyLink said before the storm that it had deployed generators to areas within CenturyLink service territories that are likely to be impacted and was putting employees and contractors throughout the eastern region on standby.

US mobile operators Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile also commented on the extent of service outages with approximately 25% of the north east region’s cellular towers down according to FCC chairman, Julius Genachowski.

Verizon said that it suffered flooding in several of its sites in Lower Manhattan, Queens and Long Island, resulting in a loss of all services for customers served by the central officers, including the carrier’s high-speed internet and telephone services. Verizon said it was making sure certain areas were safe before sending in engineers and technicians.

"Although we will be working with all available resources to restore service for our customers, some pockets of damage are extensive and could take up to a week or more to fully restore," said Bob Mudge, president of Verizon's Consumer and Mass Business division. "Some restorals will require physical rebuilding of our facilities, and others will require the return of commercial power."

AT&T’s mobile sites in northern New York and parts of New Jersey were down yesterday and the operator said that it was performing an ongoing ground assessment of its network.

Sprint said it was experiencing service impacts particularly in the New York tri-state area and the Washington DC metro area, Pennsylvania and parts of New England.

The impacts were due to loss of commercial power, flooding, loss of cell site backhaul connections, site access and damaging debris. Sprint also said that its technicians were assessing the damage and servicing sites in areas deemed safe to enter.

T-Mobile said that due to the impacts of Sandy its customers may be experiencing service disruptions or the inability to access service in some areas. Its engineers are also assessing the situation.