Fiber Optics Part of Hurricane Sandy Recovery

When Hurricane Sandy ripped through the New York area, much of the decades-old copper wires were damaged. By Christmas, Verizon had already laid more than 5,000 miles of fiber optic cables across Manhattan to assist in the recovery efforts. Yet Fire Island, a popular vacation destination located off Long Island that was devastated by the storm, was told that they would never have basic telecommunication services reconnected.

High tides were responsible for the extensive damage suffered on Fire Island. Eighty percent of homes on the east end of the island suffered flooding and 90 homes were totally destroyed. While the island is a popular beach spot, it is home to many year-round residents. Since October 2012, only dial tone services had been restored. Internet service, ATMs and vital point-of-sale systems still weren’t working.

After months of criticism, Verizon finally announced that it would run fiber optic cables to the island so that restoration efforts could continue.

“In today’s competitive marketplace it’s all about making sure you can take care of customers because if you don’t, they can go someplace else. Interestingly on Fire Island, there is no place else, so we listened to our customers,” said Tom Maguire, Verizon senior vice president for national operations support, on Long Island’s “It was pretty apparent that we wanted to do something beyond Voice Link and the wireless network, so we think that fiber is the best course.”

The decision to lay fiber will actually serve as a major upgrade to the outdated copper system.

“By installing fiber-optic cables on the island, Verizon will not only make the system as good as it was before, but it will also make it better,” said New York Senator Charles Schumer in a press release. “Fire Island residents will now have greater access to high-speed Internet — a necessity in the modern age — and reliable voice service. Verizon deserves credit for listening to our concerns and changing course.”

At GeoTel Communications, our fiber optic network maps integrate telecommunications infrastructure data with geospatial technologies so that areas like Fire Island can analyze infrastructure in a spatial, map-like environment. If you are interested in obtaining fiber network maps for a particular city or metro area, contact GeoTel Communications at (800) 277-2172.