News

New York City Cell Phone Sevice Spotty; Frequent Manhattan Signal Failures

The signal problems won't make a difference for many as they can't charge their phones.
Rutland Road in Brooklyn (Shawn Morrison/Facebook)

Rutland Road in Brooklyn (Shawn Morrison/Facebook)

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -Thousands of people in Manhattan woke to find they had no cell phone coverage this morning after Superstorm Sandy battered the city’s phone masts. Cell phone users in large swathes of Lower Manhattan suffered the signal failures after 24 hours of devastating weather and those problems persist this afternoon.

The storm knocked out power to at least 6.2 million including some 250,000 customers in Manhattan.

The problems are understood to be largely localized, and include those on the Verizon and AT&T networks  but customers could be disrupted by extended power outages.

Cell phone users went online to express their frustration at the lack of cell phone coverage – however some tweeted that their coverage had been reliable at #Sandy.

Before Sandy hit, cell phone companies insisted they were ready for every eventuality.

Verizon said it had national and regional command centres tracking the storm’s progress and effect on its operations.

The wireless company said it had brought in additional equipment, such as fiber-optic and copper cable and portable cell sites, to areas that were expected to be hit hard by the storm so cell service stays up and running.

In a statement it said: ‘Due to extreme weather conditions, there may be storm related power outages in your area and some or all of your Verizon services may be affected.’

Meanwhile, Comcast encourage subscribers to sign up for alerts about service outages and warned users they could face difficulties, and AT&T said it had installed back-up generators at ‘critical cell sites.’

Elsewhere flooded servers of Datagram Inc in New York City, brought down several media websites it hosts, including Huffington Post and Gawker.

New York-based Datagram offers server-hosting services, network and Web application support, and database administration.

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A notice posted on Datagram’s website said:

Datagram, Inc.

Our phones are not currently working, but our email is working fine and we are standing by. You can email us at support@datagram.com.

Our BCP Connecticut facility is on line and functioning normally

Notices:

  • 10/30 11:53 The building has slowly begun to pump water out of the basement. They are unable to provide an ETA however.
  • 10/30 11:20 We are still flooded, as soon as the basement is cleared we will be allowed to operate the generator and restore power.
  • 10/30 09:07: Downtown NY is still underwater. Mayor Bloomberg is giving an address at 9:45am.
  • 10/30 08:49: We are currently waiting for the Army Corps of Engineers to assist in pumping out water.
  • 10/30 05:34: We are continuing to battle flooding and fiber outages in downtown New York and Connecticut. Verizon and other carriers in the area are down as well. Generators are unable pump fuel due to the flooding in the basements. Downed trees are causing fiber outages all across the northeast. We will provide updates as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

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Sandy, which was especially imposing because of its wide-raging winds, brought a record surge of almost 14 feet to downtown Manhattan, well above the previous record of 10 feet (3 meters) during Hurricane Donna in 1960, the National Weather Service said.

Shortly after the massive storm made landfall in southern New Jersey, Con Ed cut power deliberately to about 6,500 customers in downtown Manhattan to avert further damage.

Then, huge swaths of the city went dark, losing power to 250,000 customers in Manhattan, Con Ed spokesman Chris Olert said.

How has your cell service been or is this the least of your worries?