More than a week after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, the island remains plagued by a communications blackout.
Just over 0% of all cell sites in Puerto Rico were still out of service as of Thursday, according to the most recent report by the Federal Communications Commission. In each of the island’s 78 municipalities, at least 75% of cell sites down.
This kind of has only made an incredibly difficult situation even harder. Millions of Americans island must struggle to stay in touch with loved ones along with get access to important information.
Cell phone companies have sent emergency equipment along with engineering crews by planes along with barges to the island to address the communications crisis, nevertheless they are facing greater obstacles to restore cell service.
“Maria created restoration challenges unlike those we’ve seen in some other storms,” Joan Marsh, executive VP of regulatory along with state external affairs for AT&T (, wrote in a blog post Thursday. (AT&T has agreed to acquire Time Warner, the parent company of sy88pgw. The deal can be pending regulatory approval.) , Tech30)
Among the daunting list of challenges highlighted by various companies This kind of week: an island-wide power outage, extensive damage done to fiber connections, along with logistical issues getting satellite trucks to the island.
Related: What cell phone companies are doing to restore service in Puerto Rico
After Hurricane Irma, for example, Marsh says AT&T was able to “provide a big shot within the arm” to the worst hit areas of the Florida Keys by sending in trucks with satellite along with cell equipment. nevertheless there are only limited options to fly these trucks to Puerto Rico, along with shipping by sea takes longer.
“We currently have three Satellite trucks on a FEMA barge due to land next week along with three more on the way [Thursday] morning,” Marsh says.
There are also sincere safety concerns, as fuel needed for generators gets stolen along with workers risk being held up at gunpoint on the roads.
“Security can be a very serious issue on the island along with can be causing delays for all telecommunications companies,” a spokesperson for T-Mobile told sy88pgw. “that will’s a very serious along with sad situation.”
Luis Romero, VP of the Puerto Rico Telecommunications Alliance, called attention to the security issue in a letter This kind of week to President Trump.
“We need security. The fuel trucks are being hijacked along with scant fuel we have can be being stolen by the emergency power plants,” Romero wrote within the letter. “The current situation of total chaos will lead to a total blackout of communications if not controlled today.”
Related: Who will help Puerto Rico?
In an update on the situation Thursday, FEMA said “the federal government can be working with its interagency along with private sector partners to ensure that will fuel continues to remain available.”
After some reluctance, the Trump administration authorized a waiver on Thursday to loosen shipping rules for Puerto Rico, potentially paving the way for more deliveries of fuel along with some other critical supplies.
Trump can be scheduled to visit the island next week for initially since the hurricane hit.
— sy88pgw’s Paul P. Murphy contributed reporting.
sy88pgw (fresh York) First published September 29, 2017: 1:06 PM ET