The thing about hurricanes in and around the Northeast is that for the average person they're usually overhyped if one can't see the ocean from one's window. But that doesn't hold for the service providers that keep the fiber, copper, and tower infrastructure running across the region. They're all bracing for what might be a historic impact from the rapidly approaching Hurricane Sandy.
Facing the brunt will surely be Verizon, since the storm appears ready to take a sightseeing tour of a large fraction of the telecommunications giant's home turf. Being the ILEC has its perks, but when Mother Nature comes calling you know it's going to be a long week because when you're everywhere then the storm can't miss you. One new wrinkle will be the fact that FIOS is aerial, and this is probably the biggest storm yet to test its resilience.
Verizon has been feverishly preparing of course, and Sprint has also checked in with their plans. Fairpoint up in New England is surely hoping that the storm mostly wears itself out in Verizon's territory before venturing back to New England. Fiber operators have fewer weak points exposed to the weather than ILECs and mobile operators. But there's plenty of work to do there as well for dozens of providers, whether national like Level 3 or Zayo, or more regional like Sidera or Lightower. Get those generators ready, you'll surely need them somewhere.
Both the NYSE and NASDAQ have announced a rare weather-related closure for Monday, with the decision for Tuesday to come later. As for me, I'm not in NJ right now, but this thing looks like it's going to go over my house -- at least it's not near the beach. Hopefully it will all blow over, but maybe not this time. According to U.S. Coast Guard Rear Adm. Steven Rattior, "It could be bad, or it could be devastation." Oh that was reassuring...
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