rural telephone pole

AT&T is attempting to harden its network in Louisiana by burying fiber-optic infrastructure that initially was installed on telephone poles. The buried cable is nowhere near as susceptible to damage from hurricanes and other storms as above ground wiring.

AT&T said that it is spending tens of millions of dollars on the project, which will focus on parishes in and around the New Orleans area, including Jefferson, Lafourche, Orleans, St. Charles, St. James and Terrebonne, and with completion expected in the first half of 2022.

“I am proud of the tremendous work that has been done by our AT&T team to restore services quickly and effectively,” said Sonia Perez, president of AT&T Southeast States in a prepared statement. “Having said that, we learn from every disaster event and make enhancements, and we are doing the same here. This critical project is the beginning of our work to apply constructive learnings from the impacts of Hurricane Ida.”

The need to harden communication assets was made evident by Hurricane Ida in August. The storm took out more than half of the cell towers in its path.

There are more than 3,200 AT&T employees who live in Louisiana, and many of them critical to hurricane response and recovery efforts, according to AT&T. In addition, hundreds of AT&T employees from other states assisted in the efforts to restore connectivity to the area quickly after Hurricane Ida.

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