Nearly All Cell Sites Still Down in Puerto Rico

More than 95% of cell sites in Puerto Rico remained down today due to widespread damage caused by Hurricane Maria, the FCC said.  There were also apparently heavy outages in cable and wireline service, although specific figures were not available. The outage data came from information submitted to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS), which has been activated for all counties in Puerto Rico and all districts in the U.S. Virgin Islands. As it did in a report yesterday, the FCC noted that “many communications providers have not yet reported in DIRS, so outage information almost certainly is not complete.”

“Overall, 95.4% (up slightly from 95.2%) of cell sites are out of service” in Puerto Rico, the FCC said in its outage report today.  “All counties in Puerto Rico have greater than 75% of their cell sites out of service. 47 out of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico have 100% of their cell sites out of service.”

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, “68.9% (down from 76.6%) of cell sites are out of service. All counties have 50% or more of their cell sites out of service,” the report said.

As for 911 services, the report said that “[t]he two PSAPs in Puerto Rico are currently functioning normally according to the primary service provider. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, the St. Croix 9-1-1 Call Center has been reported as completely down. FEMA has reported significant damage to the building. The St. Thomas 9-1-1 Call Center is unable to retrieve Phase I and Phase II location information for wireless callers and ANI/ALI for VoIP Callers.”

“Since there are widespread power outages in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, the FCC has received reports that large percentages of consumers are without either cable services or wireline service (one company reported that 100% of its consumers are out of service due to lack of commercial power),” said the report. “There are at least 10 switches that are out of service due to either SS7 or toll isolation.”

The FCC also said that only one TV station in Puerto Rico reported being off the air, but it said that others have not yet reported in DIRS. “No radio stations have reported in DIRS so far,” it said. But the FCC added, “Through informal reports received yesterday, it appears there may be six radio stations operational, and no television stations operational in Puerto Rico.”

Meanwhile, the FCC is issuing relief on multiple fronts to providers in areas impacted by the recent hurricanes. The FCC said in a public notice today that it will give entities in areas impacted by hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria an extra three days — or until Sept. 29 at 11:59 p.m. EDT — to file fiscal year 2017 regulatory fees.

Another public notice today on the planned Sept. 27 nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS) noted that participants are required “to report test results in the EAS Test Reporting System (ETRS). Specifically, on or before 11:59 p.m., September 27, 2017, EAS Participants must submit corrections to ETRS Form One, and must file ‘day of test’ information in ETRS Form Two. By November 13, 2017, EAS Participants must file detailed test results in ETRS Form Three regarding whether they received and/or retransmitted the EAS message.”

But the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau said that for broadcasters, cable TV, and other EAS participants in areas impacted by the hurricanes, it is extending to Nov. 13 the Sept. 27 deadline for filing Form One corrections and allowing participants to file Form Two at the same time as Form Three. — Paul Kirby,

Courtesy TRDaily