FCC Activates Disaster Information Reporting System in 34 Florida Counties

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Communications infrastructure companies spent the weekend moving assets into position to restore service cut off by Hurricane Dorian. As of deadline, the storm had weakened to a Category 2, however the National Hurricane Center said it was growing, reported NPR

The hurricane was predicted to get “dangerously” close to Florida’s east coast late last night and into today.

Georgia, the Carolinas, and Virginia could feel the effects of Dorian in the coming days.

The FCC activated its Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) in 34 counties in Florida. According to carriers’ first reports Tuesday, damage so far appeared to be minimal, with 0.2 percent of cell sites not working out of the more than 9,600 cell sites in the affected areas. 

The Commission cautions that its report is a snapshot in time and the situation is constantly changing. The number of cell site outages in a specific area does not necessarily correspond to the availability of wireless service to consumers in that area. Wireless networks are often designed with numerous, overlapping cell sites that provide maximum capacity and continuity of service even when an individual site is inoperable. 

Inside Towers reported that carriers have been watching Dorian’s path and moving restoration assets like COWs, generators and personnel to staging areas. Verizon, for example, said yesterday its response team is available 24/7 to coordinate with first responders. Verizon is mobilizing charging stations, devices, special equipment, emergency vehicles and more to support local, state and federal agencies. 

 “The entire Southeast coast is in our thoughts as they get ready for Dorian’s impacts to be felt,” said John Granby, Verizon Consumer Group South Area President. “We know that people have a lot of work to do in order to prepare for a major hurricane, and this is one small thing we can do to ensure they are able to connect worry-free before, during, and after the storm.”   

AT&T Tuesday launched Severe Weather Channels on both DIRECTV (361-2) and U-verse (226 SD/1226 HD) dedicated to coverage of Hurricane Dorian. As the storm approaches the Southeast coast, the channels will offer coverage from various local affiliates in the affected areas as well as national news networks. Additionally, DIRECTV customers already have access to the Severe Weather Mix (361-1), a separate channel that features a mosaic of round-the-clock coverage from the Weather Channel, Accuweather, and other news sources. 

September 4, 2019

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