Verizon utilizes Dura-Line HDPE duct for Hurricane Sandy restorations.

Verizon completes fiber-optics installation in lower Manhattan as part of Hurricane Sandy restoration effort
December 20, 2012
Lightwave Staff
Approximately seven weeks after Hurricane Sandy, Verizon says it has completed the installation of fiber-optic cables between the company's two critical central switching offices in lower Manhattan and buildings put out of service by the storm surge.

The completion of the fiber-installation phase of the project is part of Verizon’s plan to modernize communications capabilities for customers as it restores services to the businesses and office buildings in lower Manhattan that were affected by the hurricane.

Once Verizon completes the project, the area will have the nation's most advanced communications infrastructure, providing customers with the highest level of service and reliability, the company claims. Furthermore, the modernization project will make lower Manhattan "future-proof," enabling Verizon to easily update the communications infrastructure with new capabilities.

During the restoration process, Verizon has provided alternate communications services to thousands of small businesses and residential customers in the area. The company has provided call-forwarding capabilities to approximately 7,000 telephone lines so that calls are automatically forwarded to a working landline or cellphone number. In addition, it 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 Verizon has been installing the fiber-optic network, 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 important steps in the process. As building owners and managers complete these steps, Verizon is rapidly connecting the newly laid fiber to the 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.

"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."

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, now have fiber-optic cables and facilities serving them, with many buildings downtown already receiving full service.

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.

Verizon estimates that it has already installed more than 5,000 miles of fiber in the dense lower Manhattan area, and more than 100 tons of copper cables have been removed from the area – 30 percent more than all the copper in the Statue of Liberty. More is being removed each day. The copper is being collected and recycled in an environmentally sensitive way, Verizon says.

"We are doing years' worth of work in just a few weeks, 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.

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Parker Frost