Verizon and AT&T, two of the largest telecommunication companies in the United States are reporting massive repair efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy's devastation in New York and New Jersey. In addition to the restoration work underway, many large broadband companies providing service in the New York City and the State of New Jersey are contributing to State and City relief efforts.
Some estimates have put the potential economic damage from Hurricane Sandy at over $50 billion, which includes property damage, lost business and additional living expenses. This makes the storm the second most damaging storm in history of the U.S. (behind Hurricane Katrina.)
Shortly after storm damage was assessed, AT&T announced a $1 million contribution to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s newly formed Empire State Relief Fund, which provides housing relief for those displaced by the storm. AT&T's contribution, together with support from several individuals and companies, will support the hardest hit areas across the region and be specifically directed at costs associated with providing long-term housing and rebuilding homes.
According to an AT&T press release announcing the contribution:
“AT&T thanks New York State and City officials for their leadership during this challenging time,” said Marissa Shorenstein, President, AT&T New York. “New Yorkers around the state have been hit hard by Sandy and AT&T has been working closely with our leaders to ensure they have the resources to help all those in need. The Empire State Relief Fund is an important asset in taking the necessary steps to rebuild areas affected by the storm and AT&T is proud to contribute to its efforts.”
The $1 million contribution to the New York State fund follows an additional $1 million contribution for a similar New Jersey fund announced by Governor Chris Christie. According to AT&T, the $2 million state contributions build on the AT&T Foundation’s $250,000 grant to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief fund and $225,000 in AT&T Foundation grants to local nonprofits in the Tri-state region:
In addition to the the funds directly supporting state efforts, AT&T has also announced several other storm related restoration and recovery efforts. Like other broadband and telecommunication providers, AT&T has been working to restore disrupted wireless and wireline services in the areas affected by the storm. The company recently reported that more than 99 percent of their sites were back up, including almost 97 percent of cell sites in New York City.
AT&T has also been working with the Bloomberg administration to deploy charging stations powered by generators and recreational vehicles with charging capabilities. The vehicles are deployed at local food and water stations in all five boroughs. AT&T customers can also use any of the company's 400 retail store locations to charge their devices.
Time Warner Cable (TWC) also announced donations to local relief efforts in the area affected by Hurricane Sandy. The company donated $500,000 to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and $50,000 to The American Red Cross of Northeastern New York, and the American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey.
In making the donations, Time Warner Cable Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Glenn Britt said, “Time Warner Cable is a proud member of the communities we serve, and donating to those communities in times of great need is important to all 51,000 Time Warner Cable employees around the country. I’m proud of the work my colleagues have been doing, both in preparation for, and in relief of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy. These donations are one way for us to say that we are here, we’re committed to New York and New Jersey, and we’re working hard to rebuild our communities together.”
In addition to the cable company, parent company Time Warner and its entertainment divisions, including Warner Bros., HBO, Turner Broadcasting System and Time Inc. also donated $1 million to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts, according to the entertainment giant's website.
According to Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes:
“New York City is our corporate home, the home to thousands of our employees, and the location for so many of our film and television productions," said . "We feel a special kinship with all those who have been affected by this devastating storm. Time Warner and its employees have always responded in selfless and generous ways to help those in need, and we hope that our contributions will help people to rebuild and recover."
Time Warner's media organizations also pledged to continue supporting the relief efforts through through enormous media outlets. CNN launched a web site called “Impact Your World,” providing information about how to support the relief efforts.
Hurricane Sandy Damages Broadband Infrastructure in New York and New Jersey