Isaac Slams Gulf Coast; Cable Weathers Storm

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Hurricane Isaac
limped slowly
out of the Gulf
Coast area last week, leaving
behind some flooding
in parts of Florida, Louisiana,
Mississippi and
Alabama but otherwise
causing minimal damage
to cable operations in the
region.

According to press reports,
four deaths were attributed
to Isaac and about
900,000 homes in Louisiana
and 150,000 homes in Mississippi, the two hardest-hit states, were without power.

Isaac made landfall on Aug. 29 as a Category-1 hurricane with winds of up to 80 mph
and dumping an estimated 20 inches of rain on the region.
As of Aug. 30 the storm was slowly making its way toward
Arkansas (at an 8-mph pace) and had been earlier downgraded
to a tropical storm.

In Louisiana, which on the same day in 2005 felt the
brunt of Katrina’s Category-5 force, the damage was limited
to some flooding and power outages, mainly in areas
to the north and south of New Orleans. Plaquemines Parish, a small strip of land jutting
between the Gulf of Mexico and the Mississippi River, was hit the hardest, with flooding
resulting from the failure of a Gulf-side levee.

In New Orleans, damage was confi ned to some flooding and power outages as the city
was pummeled by high winds and about 12 inches of rain.

Cox Communications said crews across its 18-parish Louisiana territory were currently
assessing damage, waiting until flood waters subsided and power was restored to move
into certain neighborhoods.

Progress has been made in areas like Acadiana, where only 3% of customers remain without
service, and Baton Rouge, where service has been restored to 83% of customers who lost
their connection because of the storm. Assessments and restoration remain ongoing in the
hardest-hit New Orleans region, where Cox’s infrastructure was most heavily damaged and
is the hardest to access because of road closures and continued widespread power outages.

“Our continuing focus is on our customers and restoring service to them as quickly and
safely as possible,” Cox Louisiana senior vice president and general manager Jacqui Vines
said in a statement. “We will be working around the clock to repair our network and restore
services and anticipate that as power is restored, so will our telecommunications services.”

Charter Communications — which has operations in parts of Louisiana, Alabama
and Mississippi — said it was still assessing damage at press time. The company said that
while it was still early in the process, it appeared that Slidell in St. Tammany Parish and
Thibodaux in Lafourche Parish were its hardest-hit markets.

Mediacom Communications, which has customers in parts of Mississippi, Alabama and
Florida, said damage was also minimal and mainly tied to power outages. Mediacom declared
“business as usual” in its Alabama and Florida markets on Aug. 29 and determined
that about 350 customers in Mississippi were without service. Group vice president of legal
and government affairs Tom Larsen said in an email message that Mediacom expects
some plant damage in coastal areas that can’t be assessed until flooding recedes, but that
the majority of service disruptions were due to commercial power outages.

TAKEAWAY

Hurricane Isaac killed four and
left 900,000 without power on
the Gulf Coast, but damage to
cable systems was minimal.

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