Bringing Fiber-Optic Connectivity to Lower Manhattan Post-Hurricane Sandy
Less than seven weeks after Hurricane Sandy, Verizon has finalized another important step in the transformation of the communications infrastructure of lower Manhattan by completing the installation of fiber-optic cables between the company’s two critical central switching offices there and buildings put out of service by the storm surge.
The completion of the fiber-installation phase of the project – with more than 5,000 miles of fiber strands already in place -- enables Verizon to dramatically modernize communications capabilities for customers as it restores services to the businesses and office buildings in lower Manhattan that were impacted by the hurricane. Once the project is complete, the area will have the nation’s most advanced communications infrastructure, providing customers with the highest level of service and reliability. Furthermore, the modernization project will make lower Manhattan “future-proof,” enabling Verizon to continually update the communications infrastructure with new capabilities for decades to come.
(PHOTOS: To view or download photos of Verizon technicians constructing a telecom room at 55 Water St., installing fiber-optic cables at John and Pearl streets, and a Verizon representative taking FiOS orders in the lobby at 55 Broad St., go to http://vz.to/VNPcQ0. For additional photos, visit http://vz.to/UaaBH1.)
During the restoration process, Verizon has provided alternate communications solutions to thousands of small businesses and residential customers in the area and elsewhere around the metro area to get them back in business and their communications flowing. The company has provided call-forwarding capabilities to approximately 7,000 lines of consumers and small businesses so that calls are automatically forwarded to a working landline or cellphone number. In addition, the company has provided at no charge to customers more than 2,600 Verizon Wireless Home Phone Connect and Verizon 4G LTE Jetpack™ Mobile Hotspot devices.
While the company has been installing the robust fiber infrastructure, it is also working with landlords as they ready their properties for the return of tenants. The reconstruction of telecom rooms – frequently relocated to upper floors – power, and access to those rooms are on the critical path to the restoration of communications services.
As building owners and managers complete these steps, Verizon is rapidly completing the work of connecting the newly laid fiber to new electronic systems and turning up service. The steps these building owners are taking, in conjunction with the new fiber infrastructure from Verizon, will provide additional protection for the communications infrastructure in lower Manhattan in the event of future large-scale weather events.
Verizon continues to operate two command centers in Manhattan where its operations and engineering teams can swiftly design and reconfigure new fiber systems and routes, and then work with building managers to identify space within their structure to locate the new equipment, electronics and cabling.
“The work Verizon is doing now will make us a smarter, faster, better-connected city and region,” said Mitchell Moss, Henry Hart Rice Professor of Urban Policy and Planning at
New York University. “These repairs will actually lay the groundwork for a new era of growth and higher efficiency, which will benefit everyone.”
5,000 Miles of Fiber Strands Already Installed
The company estimates that more than 70 percent of the affected buildings served by its Broad Street switching office, where copper services were most significantly damaged, have fiber-optic cables and facilities serving them, with many buildings downtown having full service.
In addition, the company estimates that it has already installed in the dense lower Manhattan area more than 5,000 miles of fiber strands. Thus far, more than 100 tons of copper cables have been removed from the company’s network in the area – 30 percent more than all the copper in the Statue of Liberty. And more is being removed each day. The copper is being collected and recycled in an environmentally sensitive process.
“We are doing years’ worth of work in just a few weeks’ time, and doing it round the clock,” said Martin Burvill, senior vice president of global operations for Verizon Enterprise Solutions. “We are keenly focused on transforming the communications infrastructure of lower Manhattan with this new architecture in a way that fully benefits our residential and business customers.
“Although this work is being done away from the public’s view – in basements, manholes and in still-darkened office towers – it will have a visible and lasting impact by providing a critical part of the city with a network that is world-class, and built for the communications needs of the 21st century,” Burvill said.
Verizon has also had an open and continuous dialogue with manufacturers and vendors that supply the industry with electronics necessary to terminate sophisticated fiber networks and the wide range of services they deliver. The great need for equipment prompted by Hurricane Sandy restoration efforts continues to put pressure on supply chains of specialized equipment, which in turn affects restoration efforts.
Copper cables were destroyed that served businesses and residences in the area south of Worth Street, from the East River to the Hudson River. These cables were rendered inoperable as the result of the unprecedented flooding, the mixture of salt water and diesel fuel in some buildings from compromised tanks that were in place to fuel generators, and the loss of air pressurization systems that help protect copper cables from water infiltration.