Communications have improved greatly in the areas of Texas and Louisiana impacted by what is now called Post-Tropical Cyclone Harvey. Only 13 Texas counties remain in the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) for this storm. That compares to 65 counties in the days afterwards.
On Labor Day, only 1.6 percent of the affected counties remained out of service; compared to 2.4 percent on Sunday. There are no counties with greater than 25 percent of cell sites out. Only three counties have greater than 10 percent of their cell sites out of service: Aransas, Calhoun and Orange, according to the FCC. Of the 4,200 cell tower sites in the remaining 13 affected Texas counties, 70 were out of service on Monday, compared to 102 on Sunday.
The number of emergency calls centers out of service has dropped to five, down from six the day before; all of those calls have been re-routed. Seven radio and two TV Texas stations remain off the air.
As the weather cleared late last week, Verizon began using drones to inspect its towers. “Not only is it safer and faster than sending a tower climbing crew, it allows us to access sites that are inaccessible to us because of flooding,” spokeswoman Karen Schulz told Inside Towers. “When we do these inspections, we look for things like cracked antennas, frayed coax cable or other issues that may be causing a problem currently or may result in service interruptions in the coming days to prevent those.”
FCC Chairman Ajit Pai travels to Texas this week to inspect the damage caused by Harvey, assess the impact on communications infrastructure, and meet with those involved in recovery efforts. Today, he will be in Houston. Among other stops, he plans to visit a 911 call center, a broadcast television station, and the George R. Brown Convention Center, where many displaced Houstonians are being housed. On Wednesday, he will be in Austin. There, he will visit the State Operations Center, which is managed and staffed by the Texas Department of Emergency Management. And on Thursday, he will be in Dallas, where he will tour a 911 call center.
September 5, 2017