The amount of cell tower sites in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands out of service due to Hurricane Irma is rapidly declining. At the same time, all of Florida has been added to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) and the first reports are due to the Commission today.
In Florida, Verizon said its network continued to withstand Irma yesterday. The carrier’s preparation for hurricanes in the region means it has power generators at most of its cell sites. Because of commercial power outages, five percent of its sites are operating on generators.
Verizon’s network team is staffing the carrier’s Florida command centers 24×7 in hardened facilities statewide, built to withstand Category 5 winds. They were assessing damage and coordinating with emergency management teams to provide support when safe and possible. Verizon customers get free data, text and voice service, and prepaid customers are getting an extra 3GB of free data in the affected areas.
AT&T is automatically issuing credits and waiving additional fees to give unlimited data, talk and texts to AT&T wireless customers and unlimited talk and texts to AT&T Prepaid customers across all of Florida, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands, through at least September 17. The carrier is also extending payment dates for AT&T Prepaid customers with voice and text service through September 17.
Seventy-eight counties in Puerto Rico and three in the U.S. Virgin Islands are included in DIRS. Overall, 26.9 percent of cell sites are not operational in the impacted areas. That’s down from 31.1 percent on Saturday and 38.9 percent from Friday. In Puerto Rico, 25 percent of the sites were not operational on Sunday, down from 60.7 percent on Saturday.
In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 57.9 percent of sites were out of service yesterday, compared to 60.7 percent on Saturday. Fifty or more percent of sites were out of service in 12 counties in Puerto Rico and two in the U.S. Virgin Islands. Two emergency call centers were out of service on the U.S. Virgin Islands. Six television stations were off the air— four in Puerto Rico and two in the U.S. Virgin Islands. No radio stations were reported to be off-air.
September 11, 2017