Widespread Power Outages in Puerto Rico, VI Continue to Hamper Tower Sites

September 26, 2017

As widespread power outages continue in Puerto Rico, about 92.5 percent of cell tower sites in the U.S. territory aren’t working, down slightly from 95.6 percent on Saturday, according to data submitted by communications providers to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS). Indeed, it appears there has been “minimal improvement to the communications networks in Puerto Rico since the Hurricane departed,” according to the agency. DIRS is now activated for all counties in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).
PR Cell sites out of service map

Of the 78 counties in Puerto Rico, 37 (down from 48 on Saturday) have 100 percent of.their cell sites out of service, according to Sunday morning’s data. More than 75 percent of the cell tower sites are not operational in all counties.

In the USVI, 61.3 percent of cell sites are not operational, down from 66 percent on Saturday.

The two emergency call centers in Puerto Rico appear to be working normally, according to the primary service provider. In the USVI, the St. Croix 911 Call Center has been reported as completely down. FEMA has reported significant damage to the building. The St. Thomas 911 Call Center is unable to retrieve certain location information for wireless and VoIP callers.

AT&T sent planes with restoration equipment, (including generators) personnel and humanitarian supplies to Puerto Rico and the USVI over the weekend; additional flights are slated for the next few days, a carrier spokesman told Inside Towers.

“We are coordinating with local and federal authorities to support recovery efforts,” said spokesman Jeffrey Kobs. “We are working to keep our customers connected and to restore services to areas where storm damage, power outages, and flooding have interrupted service.”

In the USVI, AT&T set-up a portable cell-site near the airport in St. Thomas, and has restored some power there and on other islands. The carrier plans to bring in additional resources.

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 in Puerto Rico and the USVI through September 29. The company is also extending payment dates for impacted AT&T PREPAID customers with voice and text service through September 29.

Sprint extended its waived text, call and data overage fees for Sprint, BoostMobile and Virgin Mobile customers in Puerto Rico and the USVI through September 29. Fees will be proactively waived during the specified timeframe. “As authorities and our teams on the ground assess the situation,” stated Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure.

Story taken from Inside Towers.