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TWC rolls mobile charging stations into NYC; Cablevision re-groups

Fri, 11/02/2012 - 2:26pm
Mike Robuck

With tensions mounting in some of the areas that saw the biggest impact from Hurricane Sandy, Time Warner Cable and other service providers are rushing into the morass to fix their triple-play services and ease subscribers’ frustrations.

Yesterday afternoon, Time Warner Cable announced it was sending in service vehicles to hard-hit areas such as Lower Manhattan and Staten Island. The trucks were equipped with mobile device power-charging stations and Wi-Fi hotspots. Residents in the areas can charge their devices on the trucks and access a 4G Wi-Fi connection for free.

New Yorkers can find the locations of the vehicles on Twitter via @TWCable_NYC. Time Warner Cable will provide updates on the locations throughout today. Time Warner Cable retail store locations in Staten Island and in Queens Center Mall also opened their doors to area residents that needed to charge their smartphones, laptops or other devices.

Like Comcast, Time Warner Cable is also opening up free access to its New York City Wi-Fi hotspots. Time Warner Cable’s local news channel, NY1, has made all content readily available on its website for any site visitors, without having to log in.

“Our extensive preparations for the storm, in addition to the incredible work of our employees, allowed us to maintain service for the majority of our New York City-area customers,” said John Quigley, regional vice president for New York City operations at TWC. “For those customers who lost service during the storm, we have been, and will continue to, work diligently to restore services as quickly as possible.”

Time Warner Cable’s New York City service area includes Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island and western Brooklyn, as well as Mt. Vernon in New York and Bergen and Hudson counties in New Jersey.

Time Warner Cable also announced it donated $500,000 to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and $50,000 each to The American Red Cross of Northeastern New York, which serves the Mid-Hudson Valley, and The American Red Cross of Northern New Jersey.

“To help support our relief efforts, our Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York is collecting donations from all around the country and right here at home,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said. “We are grateful for the support we’ve received from generous individuals and corporate citizens, like Time Warner Cable, who are pitching in to help our city recover from this devastating storm.”

Overall, the Federal Communications Commission said yesterday that cable outages remained at 12 percent to 14 percent of the homes passed in Sandy's footprint, which was down from the initial estimate of around 25 percent.

Cablevision storm updateCablevision announced yesterday that around 1.5 million of its Optimum households were still without power, while 1.75 million households had power and their cable services intact. As of Thursday, around 7,700 of Optimum households had power, but no cable services. Cablevision said that households represented residential and small business customers with at least one Optimum service.

“Following this unprecedented event, loss of electrical power continues to be the primary cause of widespread disruptions of Optimum service,” Cablevision wrote in a statement yesterday. “Cablevision crews are in the field and working to restore service as quickly as possible after the return of power. We will continue to provide updates for our customers on Optimum.net.”

This morning, Cablevision updated its storm recovery progress by reporting that 1.4 million households were without power, while 1.8 million had power with their Optimum services. The number of households with power but without services increased to 8,544.

Cablevision had 35,337 Wi-Fi hotspots across its New York City metro area footprint that were operational as of 4 p.m. EST today. The hotspots provide free Internet access to Cablevision’s data customers.

Cablevision has roughly 3 million subscribers in the tri-state area of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Time Warner Cable and Cablevision both provide video service in parts of Brooklyn. Cablevision also offers video service in the Bronx, as well as in areas outside of New York City, such as Westchester County.

Barclays analyst James Ratcliffe said yesterday that Cablevision’s financial hit for Hurricane Sandy could be as much as $36 million. Last year, Cablevision incurred $16 million from the impact of Hurricane Irene.

Time Warner Cable moved its third-quarter earnings report from this week to Monday, while Cablevision rescheduled its report to Tuesday.

Over-builder RCN offers its services in Manhattan and Queens, as well as in parts of downtown Brooklyn. Like Time Warner Cable, Verizon and Cablevision, RCN said its service restoration efforts were hampered by the lack of power.

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