Phone Carriers Dial Up Storm Preparations

Posted by Daniel Kobialka

Norwood Light employee Kevin Trask repairs a telephone wire in Norwood, Mass. on Sunday. (Photo Credit: Daniel Kobialka)

Tropical Storm Irene pounded New England on Sunday, damaging power lines, knocking down trees and interrupting phone service.

But phone service providers have stepped up their efforts to prevent service interruptions.

Major telecommunications companies began instituting storm plans Sunday. Several phone carriers made plans prior to the tropical storm’s arrival, such as having vehicles ready to operate or repair cell phone towers damaged by heavy rain or wind.

Telecommunications companies such as Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile faced natural challenges last week as an earthquake struck Virginia.

CNNMoney said the telecommunications providers reported overwhelming cellular delays due to millions of cell phone users making phone calls from Virginia to New England as a result of the earthquake.

But telecommunications providers have made attempts to prevent history from repeating itself with the tropical storm as it struck New England on Sunday.

Yankee Group principal analyst Ken Rehbehn told CNNMoney, phone companies face different threats in earthquakes and hurricanes. Rehbehn noted an earthquake’s severity is far different from that of a hurricane’s.

“In an earthquake, millions of people feel the same thing at once and all call their loved ones at the same time. Hurricanes don’t have that effect,” Rehbehn told CNNMoney.

A Norwood, Mass.-based T-Mobile location remains closed Sunday. (Photo Credit: Daniel Kobialka)

Telecommunications companies took several steps to be prepared nonetheless for Irene’s arrival.

Verizon’s Business Continuity and Emergency Management team has activated its National Emergency Coordination Center, which helps Verizon executives to deploy recovery efforts on their networks quickly in emergency situations.

Verizon has addressed potential flooding and power outage concerns from the storm as well as the company has set up teams to reviewing the inventory of supplies including utility poles, cable and other equipment while filling essential positions to meet recovery needs.

T-Mobile has put engineers on call in areas surround the storm’s path, and is working with state and local offices to monitor evacuation efforts to prepare to ramp up wireless capacity efforts in affected areas if necessary.

A Norwood Light employee prepares to investigate a damaged telephone wire. (Photo Credit: Daniel Kobialka)

Norwood Light Broadband, a Norwood, Mass.-based digital cable, broadband and telephone service provider, experienced additional issues from the storm.

Norwood Light Broadband electrical engineer Kevin Shaughnessy said landline phone customers lost service for more than an hour Sunday morning.

But Shaughnessy noted the company, like other telephone providers, has been working diligently in the area to make sure its clients maintain consistent service.

“We’ve been very busy,” Shaughnessy said. “There are a lot of trees down, wires down [and] poles down.”




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Posted by Daniel Kobialka on Aug 29 2011. Filed under Technology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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