FCC: Cell towers hit during Sandy need fuel

Communications services in areas hit by Hurricane  Sandy are steadily being restored, the Federal Communications Commission reported Thursday, despite the need for fuel to power the cell towers’ back-up generators.

As of 10 a.m. Wednesday, according to the FCC, the number of cell site outages decreased from 25 percent to 19 percent in affected areas, and cable service outages declined from 25 percent to 12-14 percent in affected areas.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a Thursday statement that the FCC was working with federal, state and local authorities to speed up delivery of fuel to generators aiding in the recovery.

“This is a priority because our commercial communications networks are essential to emergency response and recovery efforts, as well as to commercial activities and connecting with family,” Genachowski said.

“Replenishing fuel supplies for generators that are enabling communications networks to continue operating is a particularly critical challenge,”said FCC Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Chief David Turetsky, speaking about the affected areas in New Jersey and New York in particular.

Without power, fuel stations, pipelines and the “overhead fuel lines used to refuel tankers neighborhood gas stations” are unable to operate, MarketWatch reported Friday.

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