Commercial communications outages caused by Superstorm Sandy and subsequent flooding cannot be repeated on the proposed nationwide LTE network for first responders that will be built under the supervision of the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet), public-safety advocates have said in the aftermath of the storm.

A week ago, the FCC reported that about 25% of commercial cell sites in the affected area were not operational, according to a statement from David Turetsky, chief of the agency’s public-safety and homeland-security bureau. As of yesterday morning, the percentage of cell-site outages was less than 9%, Turetsky said in a statement provided today to Urgent Communications.

An FCC spokesperson was unable to provide similar information about any outages suffered by public-safety land mobile radio (LMR) networks, and Turetsky has not mentioned these networks in his statements to the media. However, early indications from state departments of transportation indicate that public-safety agencies in the affected area have been able to maintain communications in the aftermath of Sandy, according to William Brownlow, telecommunications manager for the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO).

Read the entire story in Urgent Communications, our sister publication.