Carriers Deploy Supply Planes, Ships to PR, USVI

The carriers continue to send supplies and personnel to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands in efforts to restore communications.

AT&T says it’s now connecting more than eight million calls and four million texts a day over its network in Puerto Rico. The carrier installed temporary cell sites in Ponce, Arecibo, Humacao, Rio Grande, and Aguadilla. These sites carried more than 100,000 calls and 500,000 texts per day for the last three days. It plans to deploy temporary sites in additional cities, including Mayagüez, Fajardo, and Guavate.

Another ship arrived in San Juan this week carrying three temporary cell sites, trucks, Emergency Communications Portable satellite units, generators, and restoration equipment. AT&T continues to deploy generators and distribute fuel to generators that are in place to power wireless and wireline equipment on the island as the commercial power outage continues. Getting additional equipment to the Islands continues to be challenging, but ships and flights with more communications equipment, generators, and personnel are scheduled to arrive in the coming days. 

Monday and over the weekend, additional generators, vehicles, and personnel arrived in the U.S. Virgin Islands. AT&T continues to execute restoration plans and recover cell sites in impacted areas as conditions allow.

Sprint teams on the ground in Puerto Rico continue to work on the ongoing service restoration efforts, according to the company. Much-needed network equipment has been arriving through multiple air cargo shipments, including a chartered cargo flight Monday that included portable generators, satellite equipment for restoring voice and text service, microwave backhaul sets and other supplies.

The company says its towers are still standing and largely intact, despite the devastation across Puerto Rico, and its personnel are working to restore backhaul and power, focusing first on restoring the most populous areas and then building out from there.

In response to the difficulty people stateside may be experiencing in reaching their loved ones in Puerto Rico and the USVI, Sprint is offering a service to anyone (regardless of carrier) to register the cell phone number of Sprint customers in Puerto Rico and the USVI. When the Sprint customer based in these locations has a connection to the network, that customer will be notified via a text message that family or friends in the U.S. are trying to reach them.

Verizon Chairman/CEO Lowell McAdam announced the company is quintupling its support for the residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, to a total of $5 million, as the magnitude of recovery and relief efforts has become more clear. “We have a strong connection to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands through our customers and employees,” McAdam said. “And while we don’t offer direct service to the Caribbean, we are working with federal agencies and our roaming partners to provide additional assistance during this crisis.”

The company previously announced a $1 million pledge to fund Hurricane Maria relief efforts, Inside Towers reported. Those funds are supporting immediate relief efforts of the American Red Cross and World Vision. Organizations that will receive the additional $4 million will be named as the Verizon Foundation and local authorities identify organizations that can provide significant long-term recovery assistance. Verizon is matching employees’ contributions, dollar-for-dollar, to select hurricane relief-focused organizations.

October 4, 2017                 

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