As remnants of Harvey continue to affect eastern Texas and southwest Louisiana, the number of inoperable cell tower sites continues to drop. Of the 55 counties in both states impacted by the storm, 3.8 percent were out of service on mid-morning Thursday, compared to 4.2 percent on Wednesday. The figures come from the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). There are no Texas counties with greater than 40 percent of cell sites out of service and all sites are operating in Louisiana. Of the total 7,804 sites, 295 were out of service.
FEMA asked the Commission to extend the data collection to nine additional counties in Texas, for a total of 64 counties, for this morning’s report.
Seven emergency call centers remained down, the same as Wednesday, however all those calls are being re-routed, according to the FCC. Nine radio stations were reported off the air Thursday, up from five the day before. Two TV stations are off the air, compared to three on Wednesday.
AT&T and Verizon continue to use drones to speed their assessment of towers in the impacted areas. AT&T increased the number of drones deployed in south Texas to 46 on Thursday (up from 26 on Wednesday); It has an additional 58 on standby, spokesman Jeffrey Kobs told Inside Towers.
Verizon, meanwhile, named three non-profit agencies it previously committed $10 million towards to fund Harvey relief efforts in South Texas. The carrier partnered with local and state government officials to identify non-profit agencies to support that are working on-the-ground on both immediate and long-term needs. They are: The Greater Houston Community Foundation-Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund for Houston, the One Star Foundation and Salvation Army Southern Territory.
Sprint extended the date, to September 8, for waiving casual call and text overage fees for Sprint, Boost and Virgin Mobile customers in Texas and Louisiana impacted by Harvey; it’s also waiving data overage fees for those customers who are not on unlimited plans during the timeframe.
September 1, 2017