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FCC: Cellular and broadband is improving in Sandy's wake

A New York woman checks her voicemail the night after the storm on her phone.

A New York woman checks her voicemail the night after the storm on her phone. // Tina Fineberg/AP

Communications in the wake of Hurricane Sandy are improving but outages remain, Federal Communications Commission officials said on Wednesday.

"The situation seems to be improving overall and that is in turn helping with the restoration of communications networks," FCC Public Safety & Homeland Security Bureau Chief David Turetsky told reporters.

On Tuesday morning, an FCC monitoring system indicated that as many as 25 percent of cell-phone sites in the storm's path were not operating as of 10 a.m. Roughly a quarter of broadband, home phone, or cable services also saw widespread outages, according to the system, which monitors sites in 158 counties in 10 states.

As of Wednesday morning, the outages had decreased to about 20 percent, FCC officials said.

"Overall, the condition of our communications networks is improving, but serious outages remain, particularly in New York, New Jersey, and other hard-hit areas," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "The crisis is not over. We'll continue to be intensely focused on helping with the full recovery of wired and wireless communications infrastructure."

T-Mobile and AT&T announced a temporary roaming arrangement that will allow their customers to use either network. The arrangement is possible because the two carriers use similar technology.

Verizon reported that it is making "good progress" at some of the hardest-hit areas in New York, but that restoration efforts will continue into the "foreseeable future."

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