By DANIELA RODRIGUEZ
With the northeast experiencing one of the worst natural disasters it has faced, the road to recovery seems to be a long one. According to recent briefings by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, there are still thousands without power. The Con Edison plant exploded, causing power outages throughout Manhattan and surrounding boroughs.
The Big Apple isn’t the only state to be affected by these power outages. New Jersey, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire are just some of the states to experience thousands of power outages.
Now that push has come to shove, Comcast, one of the largest cable companies in the country, has announced that it will unlock thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots along the East Coast to help emergency responders and others affected by Hurricane Sandy according to CNET. These hotspots, part of a 50,000-unit nationwide network are scattered throughout the affected states. Normally, these hotspots would be password-protected and only accessible to Comcast subscribers.
This service will only be accessible until Nov. 7. But anybody within the affected areas can log on for two-hour sessions, which can be renewed by logging back in. The only catch is that to find the nearest hotspot, a person has to check the Xfinity coverage map, which may be hard for a lot of people to do since there isn’t any power. But if they can, they can search “xfinitywifi” network when in the area. People who aren’t subscribers to Comcast have to sign in using the “Not a Comcast subscriber?” link.
How does this pertain to those who are journalists? There is not better coverage than for those who are living it first-hand. Without power, there is no access to communication with others or to a news organization. I think its great that Comcast has allowed this service to everybody, not just for the safety and well-being of others, but to find out what the current situation is at a certain area that was deeply affected and finding out about it quickly.