Hurricane Sandy damages crucial wireless and Internet infrastructure

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Hurricane Sandy left a path of destruction in the American northeast as heavy flooding and powerful winds destroyed homes and left millions without power. The superstorm was also responsible for disrupting wireless and Internet service throughout much of the region.

During a conference call with members of the press, Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski said the storm has had a serious impact on the nation’s communications infrastructure. It was revealed that roughly 25 percent of cell phone towers spread across 10 east coast states have been damaged or destroyed thus far.

It’s a problem that’s likely to get worse before it gets better. The storm, albeit much weaker, is still very much alive and kicking. That fact combined with continued flooding and snowfall could make it extremely difficult to gain access to and repair damaged towers.

Several data centers were also affected by Sandy as the storm made landfall. Web hosting company Datagram was one of the worst hit as the company’s basement, which houses the building’s fuel tank pumps and sump pumps, became fully submerged with flood waters.

They were forced to shut down to avoid a potential fire and permanent damage, taking down a number of popular sites like Buzzfeed, Gawker, Gizmodo and the Huffington Post in the process. As of writing, most appear to be fully functional although Gizmodo is running a modified version of their page referred to as “Sandy 2012 Emergency Site.”

Brokers on the New York Stock Exchange are also feeling the effects of Sandy. Bloomberg says that Internet and mobile phone connections were limited on the trading floor this morning. Clients are still able to send orders through the exchange network but the order management system which relies on an Internet connection is remains down. Clients will be required to call in their orders for this system until a connection with the outside world can be reestablished.

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