Lumos Networks applies lessons learned from summer derecho to Hurricane Sandy

Lumos Networks (Nasdaq: LMOS), a regional telco operating in Virginia, West Virginia and other surrounding southern and Midwest states, on Wednesday said that it continues to experience issues mainly in its West Virginia territory from Hurricane Sandy.

In addition to heavy rain and flooding, the telco said it also dealt with snow–anywhere from a few inches to more than 3 feet in some areas—in both West Virginia and higher altitude areas of Virginia.

Similar to other telcos, including Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and FairPoint (Nasdaq: FRP), Lumos said downed power lines have made service restoration challenging.

"Ongoing weather patterns and resulting power outages continue to be the main contributors to such service issues," said James Nester, director of public affairs for Lumos Networks, in an e-mail to FierceTelecom. "Compounding the problem is the fact that restoration of power has been limited due to inaccessibility as a result of weather conditions; in many cases you simply can't reach the downed power lines to begin restoration. This in turn means we can't address our issues."

Nester added that for the most part the weather conditions and loss of power have had a minimal impact on customers.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Lumos had restored service for a number of business and residential customers, but emphasized "there is still a lot of work to be done."

The issue that Lumos, like other telcos, faces is that in the process of restoring service, it must wait for utility companies to restore commercial power.

Dealing with tough weather events is not foreign territory for Lumos. As Sandy approached the East Coast this past weekend, the provider applied many of the lessons it learned from the June 2012 Mid-Atlantic and Midwest derecho.

"The derecho in June provided us with an opportunity to review internal processes and determine what we were doing well and where adjustments could be made," Nester said. "In the case of Hurricane Sandy we got out ahead of the storm in terms of preparedness and outreach. Our generators, fuel trucks, and all our teams were prepared for whatever Sandy brought our way." 

Besides putting a Continuity of Operations (COOP) plan in place to ensure it could maintain telephone and other related telecom services, Lumos had been preparing its customers once news of the storm began to emerge last week. Since then it had been providing information about the storm through various channels: its website, social media sites (Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter (@lumosnetworks)), and phone messages.    

For more:
- here's Lumos' Hurricane Sandy site

Case Study: Lumos paves a new backhaul path

Special Coverage: Hurricane Sandy's aftermath

Related articles:
FairPoint, Verizon complete preparation work for Hurricane Sandy
Cable operators brace for Hurricane Sandy
Zayo's zColo lights up 5 new colocation centers
Sandy floods Verizon's corporate headquarters in New York City

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