As much as we are a mobile planet and depend on our phones for almost everything in our daily lives, one thing we can't depend on the cell phones is to be working after a storm hits and knocks out power for the wireless towers in the affected area. Most towers will have generators to keep them going for 2 or 3 days, but if getting to those towers is nearly impossible because of storm damage, what happens when the generator runs of fuel? Yep, your state of the art mobile phone is a brick that can't make or receive calls.
Now having worked in the cell phone industry on the network side for nearly 20 years, I will say that unless each cell site has a unlimited back-up power source - say like using natural gas - then the tower won't run out of fuel - but then the backhaul can become damaged in storms like Hurricane Sandy, so the tower will have fuel to last 10 years, but lost that backhaul connection and it won't work at all. And though the landline is reliable in most of these storms because the central office usually has enough batteries to keep all the phones working - something that they have to do because of many 911 circuits that run through these offices, and they don't have as many cell towers like the wireless side does to work on. Except that landline does have remotes that break down the signal from the central office before it reaches the house, those little metal boxes that we see the AT&T guy always parked next to, if these get damaged from a storm, then this can also take out landline phones.
But since this is an older infrastructure meaning most of it is buried underground, it has a better reliability in still working, but if the central office floods then nothing will work.
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