88% of Cell Sites in Puerto Rico Down

More than 88% of cell sites remained down in Puerto Rico today due to Hurricane Maria, while nearly 69% were down in the U.S. Virgin Islands, the FCC reported in its daily outages report.“Overall, 88.3% (virtually no change from 88.8% yesterday) of cell sites are out of service. All counties in Puerto Rico, except Bayamon, Guaynabo, and San Juan, have greater than 75% of their cell sites out of service. 27 (same as yesterday) out of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico have 100% of their cell sites out of service,” said the FCC, using data reported to its Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). As for the Virgin Islands, “68.9% (same as yesterday) of cell sites are out of service. 100% of cell sites in St. John are still out of service,” the report said.

“The main PSAP in Puerto Rico is offline,” the report also said. “911 calls are being sent to the other (back-up) PSAP in Puerto Rico, 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.”

As for cable system and other wireline service, the report said that at least 10 switches, down from 11 yesterday, are still out of service due either to SS7 or toll isolation. The report also said that two TV stations in Puerto Rico reported being out of service, while another said it was on the air, and it said that nine radio stations in Puerto Rico said they were down. It said that “informal reports” indicated that one TV station and 22 radio stations were on the air in Puerto Rico.

Meanwhile, AT&T, Inc., today provided an update on its restoration efforts.

“We continue to work around the clock to connect the people of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and have made significant progress restoring our network. We are currently connecting more than 8 million calls and 4 million texts a day over our network in Puerto Rico,” the carrier said in a blog posting. “We have temporary cell sites providing connectivity to Ponce, Arecibo, Humacao, Rio Grande, and Aguadilla. In addition to the 8 million calls, these sites have carried more than 100,000 calls and 500,000 texts per day for the last 3 days. We plan to deploy temporary sites in additional cities, including Mayagüez, Fajardo, and Guavate. A ship arrived yesterday in San Juan with 3 more of our temporary cell sites, trucks, Emergency Communications Portable satellite units, generators, and restoration equipment. We expect an additional ship and cargo flight to arrive today with more equipment, temporary cell sites, vehicles, and personnel.”

AT&T added that it continues “to deploy generators and distribute fuel to generators that are in place to power our wireless and wireline equipment on the island as the commercial power outage continues. Our teams are actively working to deploy and help get people connected with family, friends, and emergency responders as quickly as possible. Today and this past weekend, additional generators, vehicles, and personnel arrived in the U.S. Virgin Islands. We continue to execute our restorations plans and recover cell sites in impacted areas as conditions allow.  Getting additional equipment to the Islands continues to be challenging, but ships and flights with more of our communications equipment, generators, and personnel are scheduled to arrive in the coming days.” —Paul Kirby, paul.kirby@wolterskluwer.com

Courtesy TRDaily