Carriers Ship and Fly Supplies and Technicians to PR, USVI

T-Mobile barged supplies into Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, while Sprint shipments continue to arrive with fuel and generators.

Carriers are making some, albeit slow progress in their efforts to restore communications in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. More than 81 percent of the cell tower sites on the island were not working as of Monday morning, according to the FCC.

AT&T says fiber damage across Puerto Rico was “significant” and re-splicing and re-laying fiber will take time. In the meantime, it’s using wireless backhaul — setting up portable satellite units at the base of clusters of cell towers. AT&T says it’s processing some nine million calls and five millions texts a day on the island — 400,000 calls and 1.5 million texts from portable sites.Thousands of people have signed up for AT&T’s website that lets anyone stateside (regardless of carrier) register the cell phone number of a family member or friend who is an AT&T wireless customer in Puerto Rico. More than 67 percent of registered people have been notified of restored connectivity.

The FCC says 60.3 percent of the cell sites in the USVI were not working as of Monday. AT&T continues to send supplies to both Puerto Rico and the USVI. The Blue Mountain site in St. Croix is now restored, providing incremental coverage on the island. Teams are on the islands working to repair cell sites and refuel generators. It’s sending additional personnel and supplies to St. John, where the Commission says 100 percent of the cell sites are not working.

Sprint crews continue working to restore service. New shipments continue to arrive with fuel and generators. More Sprint and Boost Mobile stores reopened to serve as charging stations in nearly 30 locations.

T-Mobile deployed airplanes carrying communications gear and technicians to the island. The carrier also sent barges loaded with trucks, cells on wheels, cells on light trucks, RVs, thousands of gallons of fuel and diesel trucks. More than 130 portable generators are being used.

October 10, 2017

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