Fiber outages slow cell recovery after Hurricane Michael

CNET | 10/15/2018 | Marguerite Reardon
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Since Hurricane Michael roared through on Oct. 10, a wide swath of Florida's northwest coast has been without telephone or internet service.

When Hurricane Michael barrelled into the Florida Panhandle last week, the Category 4 storm with sustained winds of 155 miles per hour not only tore down electrical wires knocking out power for hundreds of thousands residents, but it also ripped apart fiber networks necessary for delivering broadband and mobile phone service to the region.

Weekend - Verizon - Nation - Wireless - Carrier

Over the weekend, Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier, said that damage to its fiber optic network has greatly affected its efforts to get service restored in the hardest hit areas following the storm.

While service has been restored to 99 percent of customers in Georgia and 98 percent of affected customers in Florida, as of Monday morning, the areas around Panama City, Panama City Beach and the surrounding communities where the storm first came ashore are still without reliable cell service, according to Verizon spokeswoman Karen Schultz.

Cases - Service - New - Fiber - Cuts

She explained that in some cases even after service is restored, it quickly goes out again. New fiber cuts arise as recovery workers begin clearing roads and removing debris from residential properties, and as electric poles get replaced.

"Our fiber crews are working around the clock to make repairs," Schultz said Monday. "While they are making good progress, we are still experiencing new fiber cuts as soon as repairs are made."

Hurricane - Storms - Landfall - Florida - Panhandle

It's not surprising given the hurricane is already being called one of the most destructive storms that has made landfall in the Florida Panhandle. Many structures in towns, like Mexico Beach, are missing roofs or were simply flattened by the heavy winds.

Fiber is a key part of modern wireless networks, since signals transmitted over the air eventually make their way onto fiber either strung on utility poles or underground. High winds...
(Excerpt) Read more at: CNET
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