Louise Duffy ©RapidTVNews | 28-08-2011

As of noon ET yesterday, radio and TV stations in the Carolinas were standing up to Hurricane Irene pretty well, according to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), although about 5,000 cable TV customers are without service in North Carolina.

Chairman Julius Genachowski and FCC Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau chief Jamie Barnett held a press conference yesterday to deliver data from the FCC's Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS).

"As Hurricane Irene makes landfall, we at the FCC are continuing to monitor the situation very closely," Genachowski said. "We've deployed our emergency response team and our 24-hour operations centre to protect people’s ability to communicate."

Barnett said just six cable systems - five in North Carolina and one in South Carolina - "were down or partially down," affecting service to around 5,000 subscribers.

The FCC had no count on how many mobile subscribers were affected by the storm, but Barnett said that 130 cell sites were down and another 215 were on backup power. Most were in North Carolina.

"We have been in touch with our federal partners and with private sector communications providers very intensely for the last few days, including today,” Genachowski said, “and have communicated at all levels very clearly that we expect the communications carriers to do everything humanly possible to respond to this hurricane."

Barnett said he was satisfied the carriers were "executing the hurricane prep plans we've asked them to have."

"We want to make sure they're ready … to get things back up as quickly as possible" in the event of outages, Barnett said, adding that "there's always more to be done."