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Carriers Brace for 'Frankenstorm'

Jeff Baumgartner
LR Cable News Analysis
Jeff Baumgartner

Telco and MSO preparations for what's being dubbed "Frankenstorm" lead off today's look around the cable and broadband industries.

  • Carriers and cable operators in the Northeastern U.S. are bracing for the brunt of Hurricane Sandy, a storm that could leave at least 10 million people without power, according to a model developed by a Johns Hopkins University researcher.

    Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC) has deployed generators, fuel, fiber and other tools in "strategic locations near the potential path of the storm" so it can respond immediately to any damage caused by the storm. It has also deployed a fleet of recovery vehicles with food, water and tents for its techs along the East Coast, and is encouraging customers to follow two Twitter accounts (@TWCable_NYC and @TWCable_Neast) to receive live updates about the storm and related outages.

    Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is also poised to deploy its fleet of emergency vehicles, which includes a 51-foot mobile command center; two 53-foot mobile emergency calling centers; and satellite trailers. The carrier also has its environmental hazmat response team on standby to manage emergencies involving hazardous materials. Verizon posted this list of tips to help customers prepare for severe weather along with this video:

    Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), meanwhile, has posted this page to help customers prepare, and is asking them to go here to sign up for text alerts about service outages.

    Cox has activated its Business Continuity Plan, which includes generator testing and the placement of additional people and equipment resources on standby.

    Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) has mobilized its network disaster recovery staff and readied its emergency response team in an effort to mitigate the impact of the storm. Preparations include the fueling of all permanent generators and mobilizing portable generators into threatened areas and verifying the operational readiness of generators and emergency equipment at all mobile switching centers and network POPs.

  • Aereo Inc. is seeking a patent for a "Cloud Based Location Shifting Service" that streams local TV broadcasts to subscribers when they are roaming outside their home markets, reports Multichannel News. Aereo, whose service is only offered in New York City, delivers over-the-air broadcast TV broadcasts to users over broadband from a central array of thumb-sized digital antennas. (See Judge Keeps Aereo on the Air.)

  • Shares in Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) jumped about 13 percent Friday (October 26) amid a rumor that Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) could make an M&A play for the streaming giant, which is coming off a disappointing third quarter and guidance that it will miss its 2012 subscriber projections. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings stepped down from the Microsoft board of directors. (See Netflix Sinks as It Cuts Q4 Subscriber Forecast and Netflix CEO Leaving Microsoft Board.)

  • Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) subscribers in parts of New York City, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania were able to tune in to see the San Francisco Giants complete its World Series sweep of the Detroit Tigers over the weekend after the MSO settled its retransmission dispute with the Tribune Company Friday.

    — Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:18:33 PM
    re: Carriers Brace for 'Frankenstorm'

    - DirecTV has created a Hurricane Sandy "channel" that will provide live broadcasts from local stations in affected markets.

    - Aereo tweets that its expanding its "try for free" access starting at 11:30 a.m ET (New York City only).



    Jeff Baumgartner
    Jeff Baumgartner,
    User Rank: Light Beer
    12/5/2012 | 5:18:32 PM
    re: Carriers Brace for 'Frankenstorm'

    Cablevision's also got systems right along the trajectory of the hurricane, so here's the company's comment:

    "Cablevision is prepared for Hurricane Sandy, and will provide updated information to our customers at Optimum.net. In the event of storm-related impacts, we will work as quickly as possible to assess damage and complete any necessary repairs to our own facilities and in cooperation with local utilities."

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