static IP addresses so that it could create its own networks, and cable and Road Runner service were installed at the Staten Island Red Cross. Voice-over-IP (VoIP) phones running over the cable network were used to support communications among city and state offices.6

  • Internet phones were used in New York City as a way of circumventing problems with the local and long-distance phone networks. Organizations making these facilities available included local universities (chiefly for their students), Time Warner, and Cisco.

  • In Washington, D.C., a temporary IP infrastructure was deployed at the old Naval Research Laboratory facility to provide communications services for the Department of Defense units from the Pentagon.

In addition, many users communicated using unconventional means. Institutions that had lost network connectivity were given the temporary use of other offices with Internet access through the generosity of other companies and universities.

Also, once it was discovered by the late afternoon of September 11 that making long-distance calls was often easier in New York City than placing local calls, ISPs began to advise residents having difficulty dialing into their Internet service providers to make long-distance phone calls in order to reach modems in other locations. Anecdotal accounts suggest that a large number of people did just that.


The Internet was only one of several communications systems affected by the events of September 11. To place its experience in context, this section provides a brief overview of the other communications networks’ efforts that day.


As an indication of how quickly news travels (and a testament to how well the communications infrastructure was working), changes came swiftly. Apparently the first communications impact outside New York City occurred right after United Airlines Flight 175 struck the South Tower at 9:02 A.M., as the load on some telephone switches in northern New


“World Trade Center Tragedy: Time Warner Cable of New York City & NY1 News Efforts.” Time Warner Cable News Release, September 14, 2001.

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