Monday, October 2, 2017

Telecom disaster continues in Puerto Rico: 88% of cell sites still down

Nearly ten days after Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico,  88.3% of cell sites across the island remain out of service, according to the FCC. The figure is basically unchanged in the past few days.

In the U.S. Virgin Islands, 68.9%  of cell sites remain down. All of the cell sites in St. John are still out of service.

The FCC continues to post a daily outage report but has not yet convened a public hearing into the disaster, nor has it speculated as to when the public should expect services to be restored. Claro (America Movil), AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint are the major cellular operators serving Puerto Rico.

Sandra Torres, the president of Puerto Rico's telecom regulatory authority (Junta Reglamentadora de Telecomunicaciones JRT) told local media on Sunday that the goal is to restore 50% of cell sites within 30 days. She said AT&T has installed a few COW (Cell on Wheels) units around the island, but no number was given. The JRT website remains offline.

PREPA Networks, the dominant fiber network operator across Puerto Rico and a business unit of the island's hard-hit electrical utility company, has not provided any public statements about the damage to its network since before the hurricane.