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Print 13 comment(s) - last by Moishe.. on Nov 2 at 1:55 PM

Flooding and power outages are likely to make cellular and cable service consistency even worse

Telecommunications companies have told regulators that as many as 25% of all wireless cellular towers are out in a ten-state area thanks to Hurricane Sandy. The telecommunications companies are also saying that a quarter of all cable service is out in the same ten-state area. Far fewer landline outages have been reported.

The carriers also report that a "very small" number of 911 call centers have been affected by the outage. Calls coming into affected 911 call centers are being rerouted according to FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski. It remains unclear exactly how many wireless phone users and cable customers are affected by the massive outages.

Genachowski warned that cable and wireless communication services are likely to get worse before it gets better. Disruptions in wireless communications and cable television services are expected to increase as Sandy moves west and north or if existing cellular towers that are running on backup generators go off-line before power is restored to affected areas. Right now, electric companies estimate that as many as 8 million people in storm-affected areas are without power.

"The storm is not over. And our assumption is that communications outages could get worse before they get better, particularly for mobile networks because of the flooding and loss of power," said Genachowski.

The cell phone outage was estimated as of yesterday to cover 158 counties from Virginia to Massachusetts according to reports. Verizon has already reported that three central offices that house telecommunications equipment in lower Manhattan have been flooded along with centers in Queens and Long Island. So far, Verizon Wireless, AT&T, Sprint, and T-Mobile have all reported service issues along with cable companies including Cablevision Systems, Comcast, and Time Warner.

Mobile outages and cable outages mean than many peopel are likely unable to get updates on the storm from services like Google.

Source: USA Today



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RE: Old Skool
By Solandri on 10/31/2012 11:44:57 AM , Rating: 3
I think part of the problem is phone and MP3-player makers have been systematically removing FM radio functionality from their newer devices. I mean c'mon, the FM receiver circuitry only costs a few cents and takes up almost no space. Put the damn thing in "just in case" for situations like this. It's ridiculous that my phone can pick up signals from orbiting GPS satellites, but can't pick up a signal from a nearby 500 ft radio tower.

Fortunately nearly all cars still come with AM/FM radios (I've seen a few which eschewed it for satellite radio).


RE: Old Skool
By woody1 on 10/31/2012 12:12:11 PM , Rating: 2
Really? That many people don't have a plain old radio in their home? Battery-powered radios are cheap and widely available. Why would anybody not have at least one?


RE: Old Skool
By MGSsancho on 11/1/2012 3:24:51 AM , Rating: 2
The Zune HD had an awesome HD FM radio. Unfortunately cell phones and mp3 players do not come with FM chips in them do to fears of copyright.


RE: Old Skool
By eldakka on 11/1/2012 3:56:27 AM , Rating: 2
My galaxy S3 has an FM tuner in it, so not sure where you get that statement from.


RE: Old Skool
By woody1 on 11/1/2012 10:35:48 AM , Rating: 2
My AT&T Galaxy S3 does not have an FM tuner. Your's must be from another carrier.


RE: Old Skool
By eldakka on 11/2/2012 2:56:23 AM , Rating: 2
I have an i9300 S3 purchased outright from a phone supplier, not a carrier. There are actually at least 4 different 'S3' versions.

I9300, I9305, T999, I747, I535, perhaps more.

So I don't think the lack of FM Tuner has anything to do with copyright, it'd be more likely to depend on carrier requirements or which baseband chipsets' are used (e.g. the CDMA chipset might not include an FM tuner because the chipset manufacture just doesn't include it in the chips, wheras the GSM version's chipset manufacturer might include it cause they could).


RE: Old Skool
By Moishe on 11/2/2012 1:55:54 PM , Rating: 2
My HTC Trophy (WP7.5) has FM and I use it all the time.

I wish more devices had FM.


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