The Gulf Coast region is just beginning to recover from Hurricane Ida, with significant impact on cell towers in the state of Louisiana. According to an FCC progress report, as of August 30, 52% of cell towers in the hurricane’s path in Louisiana are out of service.
That equates to 1,437 towers out of service, with most of them down because of loss of power. Some localities are far worse than others. Terrebonne Parrish has 100% of its 81 towers out of service, while Lafourche Parrish has 97% down, according to FCC data.
Loss of power is significant in Louisiana. New Orleans is in the dark and may be that way for at least two weeks according to one report, with major power transmission lines completely down. Over a million locations are impacted.
Louisiana took the brunt of Hurricane Ida, particularly when comparing cell tower impact. Neighboring state Mississippi only has 14% of its cell towers in the storm’s path down, while Alabama only has 1% impacted. T-Mobile reports its network is about 70% operational across the region.
“Our engineering teams have a wide range of personnel and equipment to aid our response including additional generators, a fleet of temporary network solutions such as Cells on Wheels (COWs), Cells on Light Trucks (COLTs) satellite infrastructure, small cells, Mobile Command Trailers, WiFi hotspots and a host of other physical and technical capabilities to minimize interruptions for our customers,” T-Mobile outlines in a blog post.
The FCC also reports that over 354K customers have lost telephone, internet, and/or cable TV in the region, with 338K impacted in Louisiana.
Unfortunately, the Gulf Coast region is used to hurricanes impacting telecommunications networks. Three years ago, and just to the east, of Ida’s path, Hurricane Michael had a significant impact on networks in the panhandle of Florida.
So much so, then FCC Chairman Ajit Pai publicly admonished wireless carriers for their slow response in restoring service. But by comparison, Michael knocked out close to 30% of cell towers in the Gulf Coast region of Florida, compared to Hurricane Ida taking out over 50% of the cell towers in Ida’s path in Louisiana.