ANALYSIS: New York connectivity proves resilient against Hurricane Sandy

01 November 2012 | Kavit Majithia


New York is likely to have saved millions of dollars in damage costs as a result of resilient infrastructure and apt investment in the face of Hurricane Sandy and other natural disasters.

Analysts have commended the city’s reaction to the US ‘superstorm’ on a communications level, and service providers operating in New York proved largely resilient despite widespread damage and flooding.

Hurricane Sandy hit the northeast of the US at the end of October, resulting in power outages for over 7.5 million people across the worst affected areas.

In New York, over 750,000 people were left without power, with significant damage to the city’s transit system.

New York mayor, Michael Bloomberg, has also been commended by analysts for the effective use of real-time data and analytics to judge and react to the storm’s impact.

“Given continuous connectivity to telco data networks, people were kept updated even after power outages,” said Nishant Shah, analyst, government technology at Ovum.

“Through constant contact and data gathering, relevant organisations were able to take pre-emptive actions such as shutting down the public transportation system, evacuating specific areas of the city, closing bridges and roads and readying emergency aid after the storm to help those affected.”

Most operators in the city and the wider region reported that they were running a full range of services, despite running networks on emergency generators at the worst affected time, which was the case for metro provider Zayo.

Data centre operator CoreSite said at the time all of its sites remained operational, while Clint Heiden, president at Sidera Networks, commented that the company “had not experienced any underground fibre cuts and only minimal disruption to aerial fibre.”

Major US mobile operators AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint all experienced a loss of service at the time of the storm, but this was largely due to the impacts of commercial power failure and the loss of cell site backhaul connections.

For the longer term, Shah said New York “needs to address the digital divide and enable more citizens to be included in the city’s digital backbone during difficult times”.