Wireless Networks Almost Back to Pre-Sandy Levels as New Storm Lands
Notably, the extraordinary agreement between AT&T and T-Mobile remains in force. Siegel said the company is “continuing a special agreement with T-Mobile to enable roaming across both companies’ networks seamlessly and free of charge to customers with compatible devices and where capacity is available.” “With a Nor’easter forecast to hit the Northeast beginning tomorrow [Nov. 7] and into Thursday, T-Mobile is making preparations for any impact this new storm may have on our network and service we provide to our customers in the area,” a T-Mobile spokesperson said in a press release. “Additional engineers have arrived in the N.Y. and N.J. region, and have now joined our local rapid-response teams to provide even more on-the-ground support. We are preparing our staging areas and equipment, and readying for this new storm.” T-Mobile also emphasized the company’s agreement with AT&T to support the customers of both companies. “As we have previously announced together with AT&T, a joint agreement remains in place between our two companies, allowing customers of either company to utilize whichever network is most available in their area. This agreement provides additional access to wireless services for customers of both companies.” While the storm that’s hitting the Northeast isn’t expected to be nearly as severe as last week’s hurricane, it’s hitting a vast area of very fragile infrastructure. A significant amount of the wireless service is provided by temporary and mobile cell sites, temporary switching centers and control centers. Many of these temporary facilities are trailers, light trucks and shipping containers that have been converted into the facilities necessary to provide service. They are not built to withstand major storms.But the same can’t be said about the rest of the public service infrastructure. Hastily repaired power lines could fail again. Shoreline areas that were flooded by the hurricane storm surge could be flooded again, especially given that the protective seawalls, dunes and levees have been destroyed in many areas. Then, on top of all that has happened, when the Nor’easter passes, the area that suffered a hurricane a week before will now be faced with high winds, rain and snow. If the wireless companies ever needed to be there for their customers, this is the time. Fortunately, there’s every indication that this is indeed what’s happening.
Because of the nature of the temporary wireless infrastructure, customers can expect at least some degradation of service at least until after the storm passes. But because the carriers are being proactive about preparing their temporary sites, significant damage should be minimal.