FCC: Cable Outages Drop to 12%-14%

Commission Says Getting Fuel to Generators is Priority

The FCC said Thursday that it was focused on helping speed fuel deliveries for generators that can keep communications services up and running during power outages.

In the third daily update on the state of communications in the wake of Superstorm Sandy, David Turetsky, chief of the FCC's Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau, said that as of 10 a.m. Eastern Thursday, the commission continued to see "steady improvements in wireline and wireless communications networks throughout the affected area. However, restoration efforts in the hardest hit areas-- including New York and New Jersey -- continues to be more difficult. Replenishing fuel supplies for generators that are enabling communications networks to continue operating is a particularly critical challenge."

Cable service outages Thursday had declined to approximately 12% to 14% of subscribers in the core areas affected by superstorm Sandy from an initial figure of 25% Tuesday. That core area covers 158 counties in 10 states from Virginia to Massachusetts.

Of course, electrical outages remain a major concern in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The number of cell site outages was down from 25% in the immediate aftermath of the storm Tuesday to 19% on Thursday.

“Meanwhile, FCC staff at headquarters and at field offices are working around the clock to support FEMA’s efforts, and respond to requests for support from state and local teams, as well as communications companies," said Turetsky. "For example," he said, "FCC field agents have been working with others on-the-ground in New York City to get fuel to a switching center that serves many communications providers. We also issued another special temporary authorization 9STA), which was to assist an energy company with restoration operations in several states."

The FCC has already issued five STAs, two to power companies and three to radio stations to boost power and move facilities.