(NEW YORK) — While over 1.3 million people are still without power after superstorm Sandy, thousands are without a means of transportation or their offices are shut-down and are working from home.
Interrupted public transportation, flooded roads and a lack of gas have kept many workers unable to commute to their offices. For those who can conduct business from home, they still run into connectivity and power problems.
Here are tips for those working at home:
1. Go to a free Wi-Fi hot spot area.
Those having connectivity issues may be able to log onto Comcast’s Xfinity Wi-Fi hot spots for free. Last week, Comcast announced it was making the service available outside of its subscriber base in areas affected by Sandy. On Monday, it announced it was extending that through the end of November. The free service is available in Maine, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New Hampshire, Delaware, Washington, D.C., Virginia, West Virginia and Massachusetts. You can visit www.xfinity.com/wifi for locations.
2. Create a Wi-Fi hot spot with your cellular coverage.
If you don’t have electric power, your home Internet connection is likely out of commission. But those who have a smart phone and access to battery power can activate a Wi-Fi hot-spot for up to 10 devices using your phone. This service comes included in Verizon Wireless’ “Share Everything Plans,” which start at $90 for 3G or 4G devices. Activating a hot spot allows you to create your own 4G LTE version wireless network. If you have an older Verizon Wireless nationwide plan, you can purchase a mobile hot spot for $20 a month. Customers only need to call customer service to activate that.
3. Switching services.
As utility companies are working to restore power, phone and cable companies are trying to restore cellular and Internet services. Some residents in Long Island, N.Y., are finding more reliability in switching to Fios and fiber, from traditional copper lines for their cable and Internet services.
“Because of the way Fios is constructed, there is no electrical current that runs from consumer’s home and our switching facility,” said Bill Kula, spokesman for Verizon. “So if and when our power goes out, there is a backup battery unit that supplies some emergency reserve time for the customer.”
That doesn’t mean fiber lines will always function when copper lines fail. Fios still requires commercial power.
4. To remain productive, some at-home workers should make sure they are staying healthy.
Town Sports International is offering free visits to its 160 gyms until Nov. 14 to those 18 and older with a photo ID. The company’s franchise includes Boston Sports Club, New York Sports Club, Washington Sports Club and Philadelphia Sports Club.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Matt McFarland, CNN
Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
Julia Horowitz, CNN