Precisely what can be done to restore mobile communications in flooded areas without electricity obviously is a big question in the wake of hurricane Sandy. Some now argue that more power generators are needed at mobile tower sites.
As a practical matter, that might not have helped at locations where towers were flooded, as the generators would have been under water and inoperable.
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Related questions are raised about how users can recharge mobile devices, and get messages out, when the towers are out of commission. Time Warner Cable has a partial answer to the latter question.
Time Warner Cable is sending out trucks equipped with mobile charging stations and free Wi-Fi access points to areas in Manhattan and Staten Island without electrical power. In addition to recharging, the Wi-Fi will allow users to send messages.
That doesn't address the question of how to better harden the mobile network, though. Adding more generators would help maintain service in the event of widespread utility power outages, but might do nothing in cases of major flooding.
Edited by Brooke Neuman