Federal regulators say Hurricane Sandy knocked out a quarter of the cell towers in an area spreading across ten states, stretching from Virginia to Massachusetts. And the situation could get worse before it gets better, according to an Associated Press report.

Many cell towers that are still working are doing so with the help of generators and could run out of fuel before commercial power is restored, the Federal Communications Commission says.

Just how widely residents of the East Coast dependency on high speed mobile communications is illustrated in a map, developed as part of the FCC’s Eight Broadband Progress Report, released in June 2011. The map shows census block areas of the U.S. with access to mobile services of at least 3 Mbps download and 768 kbps upload (in dark green) and areas with or without services of at least 768 kbps download and 200 kbps upload (in orange.)

View the full map

The landline phone network has held up better in the affected area, the FCC says, but about a quarter of cable customers are also without service