Sandy


LIRNEasia has developed an innovative diary method to capture the usage patterns of phone among BOP users who don’t own any phone. Dubbed as “Teleuse@BOP3” we surveyed 9,750 sample representatives across India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Thailand during Q4 of 2008. Our researcher Nirmali Sivapragasam has authored, “The Future of the Public Phone: Findings from a six-country Asian study of telecom use at the BOP” in early 2010. Nirmali went for higher studies to Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy at the National University in Singapore. There, with a fellow student Juhee Kang, Nirmali further enriched her aforementioned study in 2011.
A significant number of base stations (around 20% or lower) in the Hurricane Sandy affected areas are supposed to have gone down, mainly due to electricity problems. I am sure the systems here in South Asia are a lot more robust in this aspect because our baseline expectations of the reliability of the electricity networks is much much lower. So our operators have way more backup capabilities. But anyway, a disaster is an extraordinary event. Bad things happen; all that we can do is minimize risks, not eliminate them.
Fury of Sandy hasn’t spared anything that a modern society survives on. Unlike most of the cities in America, the wooden power poles don’t exist across the downtown of New York and Manhattan. But the underground power cable systems are submerged by stagnant salty water from tidal wave. Barb Darrow posted a chilling account of consequences in Gigaom: As already reported, data center facilities in lower Manhattan suffered a string of outages after flooding and Con Ed cut electrical power. Datagram, the web hosting company that serves the Huffington Post, Gawker, Gizmodo and BuzzFeed, went down Monday evening after flooding caused those sites to go dark.
With slow-moving Sandy leaving New York State, they are counting the dead. It appears that 22 people died. Each death is a tragedy that the disaster managers would have loved to avoid. But can you imagine what the toll would have been if not for extensive planning and early warning? The word “cell broadcasting” is not used in the piece from the Atlantic that I am quoting below, but it is quite clear that she is talking about cell broadcasting, a topic we have researched and written about extensively.