Communication outages grow

Kyodo News

Communications failures caused by Friday’s massive earthquake off the northeast coast continued to expand in number and range Sunday.

NTT East Japan said 879,500 subscribed telephone lines and 475,400 Flets Hikari fiber-optic telecommunication systems in Iwate and Miyagi Prefectures were out of service as of 6 a.m. Sunday.

While the number of disconnected lines had not changed from 8 p.m. Saturday, 76,500 more Flets Hikari systems were disabled.

NTT East expects the failures to expand once power supplies are drained in commercial buildings dependent on emergency generators for telecommunications.

NTT West has dispatched power supply vehicles to crisis areas.

As of 7 a.m. Sunday, 11,400 mobile phone base stations for mobile phone companies NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank Mobile were out of service, according to the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry.

Phone calls and cell phone text-messaging services have continued to experience interruptions on a broad scale, and TV reception also remained cut off in parts of nine prefectures, including Iwate and Miyagi, as of 10 a.m. Sunday.

As of 5 a.m. Sunday, 1,337,700 people had used NTT’s emergency voice message board, accessed by dialing 171.