Hurricane Harvey telecom outages were substantial in Texas and Louisiana, with more than 4.7% of cell sites out of service in 55 counties designated part of the disaster area, the FCC reported yesterday. Two counties had more than 50% of cell sites out of service.
In addition, at least 283,593 wireline telecom or cable service customers were out of service, along with 21 non-mobile switching centers, according to the FCC. Thirty-three switching centers were on backup power.
The FCC also reported on public safety answering point (PSAP) outages, which totaled 15 as of yesterday. Traffic to all of those PSAPs was rerouted to other PSAPs, the commission reported.
Good Will Efforts
Perhaps aiming to offset the impact of Hurricane Harvey telecom outages, service providers made a range of good will gestures. All four major wireless providers – AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon – offered some type of discount to customers in impacted areas such as waiving overage charges or offering free calling and texting for a limited time period, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Service providers also are donating to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts. Verizon, for example, committed $10 million toward those efforts, stating that it would share details about the specific non-profit organizations that would receive the funding in “coming days.” AT&T has committed $350K in cash aid so far, with contributions to the Greater Houston Community Fund, the American Red Cross Hurricane Harvey Fund and the Coastal Bend Community Foundation announced.
On the cable side, Comcast said it would donate more than $1 million toward those efforts and opened up more than 53,000 Xfinity WiFi hotpots throughout the Houston metro area to people who are not Comcast customers.