TECH
11/02/2012 09:10 pm ET

AT&T Mobile Charging Effort Falls Flat In Red Hook, Brooklyn

In a press conference on Friday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that AT&T had placed phone charging stations in a some areas of the city where residents remained without electricity in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

But the company's efforts fell flat in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, where AT&T had set up one of the two charging stations it placed in the borough.

In Coffey Park, just steps from where the National Guard was helping distribute food and water to residents, a large AT&T truck sat, two orange generators resting silently on the sidewalk next to it.

Despite the company's intention for the vehicle to serve as a mobile power station, the truck was waiting on equipment necessary to charge phones, and had been turning people away all day.

Marie Reveron, who is 57 and has been without power since the storm, said she waited at the truck for more than two hours on Friday morning, expecting the equipment to arrive so she could charge her phone.

"Phone service is the most important thing, and now my phone is on its last, dying bar," she told The Huffington Post.

A customer of T-Mobile, Reveron said that even when her phone did have power, service in the area was spotty and she had trouble making calls.

"Sometimes you have all the bars, and the phone won't even work," Reveron said, adding that she's been trying to communicate with family in upstate New York and in Colorado.

Yamileen Diaz, who lives across from the park and is also without power, arrived at the AT&T truck carrying a bag filled with white Apple charging cables. Her 8-year-old daughter clutched an iPad and, with her neighbor's generator now out of gas, Diaz hoped to charge the tablet and her iPhone.

Both of her family's cars were destroyed in the flood, and without electricity, her phone is her only connection to the world outside of Red Hook.

HuffPost's Gerry Smith reports on the status of cellular networks in the Tri-State area:

Sprint said Thursday about 20 percent of its network in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut was still down. On Friday, the company said it could not provide an update because “network teams are still reporting in and validating our stats.”

T-Mobile said 15 percent of its wireless network in New York City was still not operating.

Mark Siegel, an AT&T spokesman, declined to say on Friday how many customers were having connectivity issues, but said that in the northeast, the "vast majority" of the company's cellular sites are working.

Siegel did not know why the Red Hook charging station wasn't working, but called the project "a massive, massive effort."

"It's a dynamic situation as they are rolling these things in and turning them up," he told The Huffington Post.

More than 2 million people in New York state lost electricity in the wake of Sandy. Although Consolidated Edison, the city's main electrical provider, had turned on power for parts of lower Manhattan on Friday evening, some 35,000 people in Brooklyn remain without power.

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