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Operators Slog Ahead in New York & New Jersey

Wireline and wireless service providers continued to rebound from Hurricane Sandy on Friday, but a report from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Chief David Turetsky shows that operators are still struggling to restore services in areas hardest hit by the storm, including New Jersey and New York.

As of 10 a.m. ET Friday, the number of cell site outages dropped to 15 percent overall, improving from 25 percent on Tuesday morning, and 19 percent Thursday, Turetsky said in a revised Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) report issued Friday afternoon.

The latest report does not contain data for Delaware, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island, where service has been largely restored. The new data covers 146 counties in the remaining seven states (and Washington, D.C.) impacted by the storm, down from an earlier total of 158 counties.

The number of cable system outages in this new, smaller geographic were at 17 percent Friday morning, an estimate that included, for the first time, data from "a company that serves many areas that have been severely affected by the storm and widespread power outages."

The FCC didn't identify the MSO in question, and a spokesman said the Commission isn't breaking down the data by individual companies. However, Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC) is one of the operators that has been dealing with extensive power outages in several systems in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Cablevision reported that 1.31 million homes in its northeastern footprint were still without power as of Friday afternoon.

By comparison, just 8,765 homes in those same service areas with power do not have cable service, while 1.94 million homes in that footprint with power have access to Cablevision services.

Without the additional reporting, the percentage of cable outages would have shown a continued decline from Thursday's estimate of 12 percent to 14 percent.

"This remains a fluid situation, and we consider the data supplied each morning by communications providers to be preliminary but useful," Turetsky added.

For links to telecom-related Sandy news from Light Reading and elsewhere, see Hurricane Sandy Updates.

— Jeff Baumgartner, Site Editor, Light Reading Cable

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