Sandy stuns wireless networks

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The severe weather caused by Hurricane Sandy has left some, particularly New York and New Jersey residents, with limited cellphone service. Major wireless carriers issued statements on service disruptions Oct. 30, while acknowledging they are still assessing the extent of the damage.

"We are experiencing some issues in areas heavily impacted by the storm," acknowledged AT&T (NYSE: T) in a statement. 

"We continue to closely monitor our wireline and wireless networks, and are deploying personnel and equipment as soon as it is safe to do so," the company said.

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) says it is uncertain when service can be restored in portions of New York. Once power companies restore their facilities and declare the area safe, Verizon technicians can move in to address wireless services, adds the company.

Sprint (NYSE: S) said loss of commercial power, flooding and debris, loss of cell site backhaul connections and site access led to outages in portions of the North East, but was unable to provide a specific number of impacted customers in a statement to news outlets.

According to a T-mobile statement, those areas hardest hit by the storm face service disruptions, but "rapid response engineering teams are assessing the situation."

"We are moving as quickly as possible," said T-mobile.

Meanwhile, National Association of Broadcasters Chief Executive Gordon Smith was quick to point out that the emergency preparedness and disaster response information provided by broadcasters can save lives--suggesting that the Federal Communications Commission shouldn't rush to reallocate spectrum from broadcasters to wireless carriers.

Radio and TV station personnel put themselves "in harm's way to keep millions of people safe and informed on the devastation of this deadly storm," said Smith in a statement to news outlets. "In times of emergency there is no more reliable source of information than that coming from local broadcasters."

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