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After lessons learned from super-storm Sandy, US telcos weather Hurricane Matthew

Network cleanup going well, claim carriers

By Shaun Nichols, 13 Oct 2016

With the East Coast of the US working to get back to its feet in the wake of deadly Hurricane Matthew, network carriers are looking to restore their services back to normal.

The monster storm has killed hundreds in the Caribbean and dozens in America. It made landfall in the US over the weekend, causing wind and flood damage stretching from Florida to Virginia, with North Carolina in particular feeling the brunt. While cleanup crews work to address an estimated $10bn in damage, telcos and network service providers are also working to get customers back online.

AT&T says that, for the most part, its network was able to withstand the storm, and is currently looking to patch up specific areas where service was temporarily knocked out:

"In Florida, Virginia and Georgia wireless service has been restored to nearly all affected areas. Some customers may be experiencing issues with their wireline and wireless services in coastal areas due to flooding in North Carolina and South Carolina," a spokesperson told The Register.

"AT&T technicians were prepared for storm-related issues and are working to restore service to affected areas as quickly and safely as conditions allow."

Likewise, Verizon says that it was able to prepare for the storm by stocking its network and data center facilities with backup power and generators. The telco says that, other than brief power outages at its East Coast facilities, the network rode out the storm.

"For the few sites still experiencing issues in the Carolinas, our network engineers and emergency crews are hard at work," a spokesperson said. "Significant progress has been made, and we appreciate our customers' patience as our team continues work to resolve issues as quickly as possible."

Level 3 Communications, meanwhile, says it was able to get through the hurricane without any major disruptions to its network.

"Level 3 made extensive preparations in advance of Hurricane Matthew and had teams of technical engineers and other employees working around the clock, monitoring the situation and our equipment to safeguard service continuity for our customers," the backbone carrier said.

"We did not experience major service disruption. There have been a few isolated incidents affecting a small number of customers, and we are resolving these as quickly as possible."

While the carriers say that their networks by and large held up, all are also acknowledging that some isolated areas, particularly those with the worst damage from the storm, are not yet back online.

Overall, networks appear to have been able to handle the weather emergency well, particularly in comparison to previous disasters such as superstorm Sandy, where data centers and wireless towers incurred significant damage and downtime. ®

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