Cablevision, Verizon suffer widespread outages sparked by Hurricane Sandy

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Cablevision (NYSE: CVC) and Verizon's (NYSE: VZ) FiOS TV said Tuesday that they are grappling with widespread service outages sparked by Hurricane Sandy that are impacting subscribers in New Jersey, Long Island and other areas that have seen storm damage.

Cablevision said most of the outages that its Optimum customers are experiencing are the result of a loss of power. "Where conditions allow, Cablevision crews are in the field and are working around-the-clock to restore Optimum TV, phone and Internet service, in close coordination with local utilities," Cablevision said in a statement.

Sandy has seen subscribers of both Verizon's FiOS products and its copper-based POTS (plain old telephone service) lose service in areas impacted by the storm. While POTS phone subscribers years ago would often be able to continue to make phone calls during a power outage, spokesman Harry Mitchell noted that most POTS customers these days rely on cordless handsets that usually won't work during a power outage. "And a tree falling on Verizon's communications lines doesn't discriminate between a fiber-optic or copper line," Mitchell told FierceCable Monday.

The storm could also impact FiOS subscribers in markets not affected by the storm. The company noted on its website Tuesday that "customers may experience delays in the shipments of routers, set-top boxes and cabling due to flight cancellations and transportation disruptions on the East Coast associated with Hurricane Sandy."

Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) spokesman Alex Dudley said the MSO, which operates cable systems in New York City and parts of New Jersey, hasn't seen significant damage from the storm. "But that said, customers without power are also without cable. As power is restored we will work to identify customers who are offline and work as quickly as we can to restore service," Dudley said.

Time Warner Cable's corporate headquarters building in Manhattan was closed on Tuesday for a second day in row, with many employees working from home. "We are anticipating business as usual at corporate headquarters tomorrow, though it will depend on many factors that are still in flux," he added. New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority has shut down subway, bus and train service, making it very difficult for New Yorkers to commute to work.

Officials at Comcast, which operates systems in parts of New Jersey, Boston and other areas hit by Sandy, didn't respond to requests for comment about how the storm impacted its operations.

For more:
- see Cablevision's statement

Special Coverage: Hurricane Sandy's aftermath

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