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FCC Sees Improvement in Communication Restoration

The commission’s attention is now mainly on wireline, wireless service; officials say New York, New Jersey efforts remain a challenge

The FCC continues to monitor the restoration efforts following Hurricane Sandy and sees improvement.

Agency Chairman Julius Genachowski says though much work remains to be done to restore communications services fully, there is continued improvement. The fuel supply for generators supplying communication networks is essential and the FCC is working with federal, state and local authorities to speed up those deliveries, he notes.

FCC field agents in New York City have been supporting FEMA and working to get fuel to a switching center that serves many communications providers. They agency has issued another STA, this time to an energy company assisting restoration operations in several states.

The commission previously issued three STAs to radio stations.

FCC Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Chief David Turetsky says assessments indicate steady improvement in wireline and wireless communication networks throughout the affected area, however restoration in New York and New Jersey continues to be a challenge.

The number of outages from cell sites has dropped to 19% from 25%; that figure includes cell sites that are operational but not working because of gaps in other parts of the communications infrastructure, he notes.

The information comes from the commission’s Disaster Information Reporting System. DIRS is a voluntary, web-based system that broadcasters and other communications providers can use to report communications infrastructure status and situational awareness information during a crisis.