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Hurricane Sandy: FCC Says 81 Percent Of Cell Towers Are Working, Up From 75%

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Cell phones charge from a wire from a home that did not lose power October 31, 2012 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Hurricane Sandy which made landfall along the New Jersey shore, has left parts of the state and the surrounding area flooded and without power. AFP PHOTO/Brendan SMIALOWSKI (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images) | Getty Images

NEW YORK (AP) — Federal regulators say wireless networks are inching back into operation in areas hit by Sandy, as carriers struggle to replenish diesel tanks at backup generators.

The Federal Communications Commission says 19 percent of cell towers in a storm-ravaged area stretching from Virginia to Massachusetts are still out of operation Thursday. That's down from 25 percent Tuesday.

Many cell towers have generators, but as they run low on fuel, refilling them "is a particularly critical challenge," says David Turetsky, head of public safety at the FCC.

Cable connections have come back up faster. The agency now estimates that 12 to 14 percent of cable-connected households are still out, down from 25 percent on Tuesday.

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