August 10, 2006 1:03 PM PDT

Mobile-phone outage hits N.Y. borough

A water leak in a Verizon Communications telephone switching facility has knocked out service to Sprint Nextel customers in the New York City borough of Queens for much of Thursday, Verizon confirmed.

The leak damaged equipment in a central office facility owned by Verizon in New York. Equipment from mobile-phone provider Sprint Nextel is housed in this facility, which switches traffic between the cellular access network and the traditional phone network.

Equipment in the facility serves customers using the old Nextel nationwide network in most of Queens and parts of the borough of Brooklyn and on New York's Long Island. As a result, the outage impacts only longtime Nextel customers, a Sprint spokesman said. Customers using Sprint's PCS network are not affected by the outage. Sprint and Nextel announced their multibillion-dollar merger in 2004.

A Verizon spokeswoman also said that Verizon's regular telephone service has not been impacted by the water leak. Verizon is currently working to restore service, the spokeswoman said. No further information was available on how many customers have been affected or when the problem will be fixed.

Reuters news service first reported the outage on Thursday, citing reports from New York City police.

The outage is likely impacting some travelers at the city's two major airports, John F. Kennedy International (JFK) and LaGuardia, which are located in Queens. Passengers traveling out of three New York-area airports--JFK, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty--faced delays and cancellations on Thursday when security was increased following a thwarted terror plot aimed at airlines flying from the United Kingdom to the United States.

The wireless outage is yet another blow to Queens residents, who last month went 10 days without electricity because of a service outage by power provider Consolidated Edison during one of the most intense heat waves of the year.

See more CNET content tagged:
outage, Sprint Nextel, Nextel Communications Inc., leak, Verizon Communications

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Ya gotta build where its cheap, it's all about the bottom line. Thinking ahead? Only if it involves getting more money from the customer. Ahh it's soo much fun.
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