(NEW YORK) — As many without electricity gather in Starbucks or banks to get a little bit of power and access a Wi-Fi signal, AT&T and Verizon are stepping up their efforts to help.
Both of the cellular carriers have announced Thursday that they will be deploying stations to help provide power and connectivity for Hurricane Sandy victims. They will also offer free charging at their store locations in areas affected by the storm.
Verizon has deployed what it calls Wireless Emergency Communications Centers, or WECCs, on Staten Island, at Monmouth University, and in Toms River, N.J. The trailers provide outlets to charge phones or computers, computer workstations for victims to get online, as well as wireless phones for people to use. In addition to those WECCs, Verizon is offering free device charging and domestic calls at Verizon stores.
AT&T is doing more in the heart of New York City. Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced during his press conference Thursday that AT&T will be positioning its own charging stations or trailers at food and water stations, which are being set up in all the five boroughs of New York City. Similar to Verizon, AT&T is offering free charging at its other stores in the Northeast.
AT&T is also allowing for recovery donations to be made via text message. You can pledge $10 to the Red Cross (REDCROSS), Salvation Army (STORM) and to the American Humane Society (HUMANE).
The four major U.S. carriers — AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile — have issued statements about their continued efforts to restore full service on the East Coast.
“The vast majority of our cell sites in the Northeast are online and working. We are making progress in areas that were especially hard-hit, including New York City and New Jersey, where flooding, power loss, transportation and debris all pose challenges,” an AT&T spokesperson told ABC News.
On Wednesday, AT&T and T-Mobile announced that they were joining hands, allowing their networks to interoperate. If AT&T service is down in one area, customers will be able to use T-Mobile’s service and vice versa.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Kathryn Vasel, CNN
Magdala Louissaint, KPVI
Aaron Smith and Evan Perez, CNM