Fiber Takes a Hit From Hurricane Michael


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One of the biggest losses to connectivity in the path of Hurricane Michael hasn’t been above ground but below it. The fiber network has taken such a drastic hit, that carriers’ efforts to reconnect the ravaged Panhandle area are proving difficult, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Verizon’s network encountered “an unprecedented amount of fiber damage,” spokeswoman Karen Schulz said to the Journal. “As soon as we get fiber repaired there’s another cut in it,” she said referring to the constant nicks from bulldozers, flying tree limbs or moving equipment used during the recovery. “It’s certainly taking longer than we would want it to.”

Since the tower sites themselves are reliant on fiber, Verizon has deployed a fleet of COWs that rely on satellites or microwave radios and launched a manned aircraft to provide LTE service, the Journal reported.

A Hurricane Michael assistance map was posted by FEMA, showing where victims of the storm can get food and water and connect with loved ones.

Late yesterday afternoon the FCC reported the following in their status report update:

“Although Hurricane Michael has had a serious impact on communications services in the Florida Panhandle and parts of Georgia some improvements are evident, especially in wireless services where the percentage of cell sites out of service dropped over the last three days from 18.8% to 6.2%. The FCC continues to closely monitor status of communications services, especially in the hardest hit areas.” See full status report.

October 15, 2018