A Tuesday Federal Communications Commission hearing looked into how communication networks responded during Hurricane Sandy and what can be done in the future.
Panelists said many networks just weren't prepared for the magnitude of Hurricane Sandy.
They said that communication prior to the storm went well, and indicated that fiber optic and wireless networks performed better than older infrastructure.
But they stressed that urban areas like New York City present serious challenges because of tall buildings, high density and proximity to water.
With serious storms expected to occur more frequently, the panel said the industry will have to plan for an uncertain future.
"What we have to do in terms of, you know, as a committee as a whole, as an American committee as a whole, so to speak, is to recognize those differences and make sure that we have the tools to adapt to those challenges, as well as opportunities," said Mignon Clyburn, an FCC commissioner.
Tuesday's hearing was the first in a series of federal hearings on the subject.