When Superstorm Sandy hit the U.S. Northeast, the FCC activated its Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) which receives reports from wireline, wireless, cable and other communications providers. The conclusion?
Sandy knocked out around 25 percent of those systems, resulting in 7 to 8 million people without some or all electronic communications.
According to FCC chairman Julius Genachowski, flooding and snow could block access to sites and slow or stop repair efforts. "Communications outages could get worse before they get better, particularly for mobile," he said.
Sandy Knocks Out 25 Percent of Communications (adweek, Oct. 30, 2012)