Communications continue to improve in the Texas areas impacted by Harvey. In the 13 counties remaining in the disaster area, 1.73 percent of cell sites remained out of service yesterday; compared to 1.67 percent on Monday. More sites were reported to be non-operational in Nueces County, accounting for the difference, according to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). The data is accurate as of mid-morning on Tuesday.
There are no counties with greater than 25 percent of cell sites out. Only two counties have more than 10 percent of their cell sites out of service: Aransas and Orange. Of the 19 cell sites in Aransas County, four were out of service — the same as Monday. Of the 85 cell sites in Orange County, 13 were out of service, down from 16 the previous day.
Five emergency call centers were out service; the same as Monday. Five radio stations remained off the air, however two translators returned to service. No television stations were off the air however KBTV, Beaumont/Port Arthur is at lower power and KFDM, Beaumont is now transmitting from an alternate transmitter, according to the Commission.
Returning FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel praised Chairman Pai’s trip to see Harvey-impacted areas yesterday and called for the agency to study the effects of Harvey on communications infrastructure. “That report must include a full plan for fixing the vulnerabilities that we are finding–from overloading 911 systems to out-of-service cell sites. It should also include a framework for rebuilding so that the communities that have been impacted are not permanently relegated to the wrong side of the digital divide.”
Rosenworcel, who saw the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf Coast, said her memories of that day “are forever burned in my mind.”
DIRS was officially deactivated for Harvey in all Louisiana counties and 51 Texas counties.
September 6, 2017