Louisiana Communications Networks Continue Hurricane Recovery, Some PSAPs Still Affected
Wednesday, September 01, 2021 | Comments

Carriers in the Louisiana area are continuing to work on restoring their communications networks that were knocked out by Hurricane Ida earlier this week.

In an update posted late August 31, AT&T said that its network is now operating at more than 90% of normal in Louisiana, while its network is operating normally in both Alabama and Mississippi. Earlier that day, AT&T said its network was operating at about 85% of normal operation.

The carrier said that it has 16 mobile satellite towers on air with more on the way to aid with recovery efforts.

On August 31, Verizon said that 85% of its cell sites that were in the path of the storm were in service, and about half of the out-of-service sites had overlapping coverage from nearby sites, so many customers were able to still receive a signal.

In another update on September 1, Verizon didn’t provide an exact percentage of sites that were up, but said it was making progress in its restoration efforts, including in hard hit areas such as LaPlace, Port Sulphur, Thibodaux, the southern coastline of Lake Pontchartrain, Hammond, St. Helena Parish and Houma.

“Overnight, Verizon engineers were able to restore partial service to many of these areas,” the carrier said. “Despite flooding, downed powerlines and debris blocking access to many locations, our teams have completed over 100 site surveys, some completed with airboats. As site surveys are completed, our engineers are identifying power outages, broken fiber lines and numerous antennas that are broken or misdirected as a result of hurricane force winds. Engineers are activating recovery plans to address each of these issues.”

In its August 31 report, the FCC reported that 38.1% of communications networks in the area were out, which had improved from the 52.1% that were out as of the report from the day before.

While communications networks were coming back up, more public-safety answering points (PSAPs) in the area reported being affected by the storm than the day before. On August 30, no PSAPs reported that 9-1-1 service was unavailable, but three reported service being unavailable on August 31.

On August 30, three PSAPs reported having service available without location and that number stayed the same on August 31. On August 30, three PSAPs reported calls being rerouted without location information, and on August 31, that number had increased to five.

The number of PSAPs rerouting service with location information decreased from two to one on August 31.

The Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base New Orleans, Tangipahoa Parish Comm and West Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office all reported as being down.

Find the FCC’s full August 31 report here.

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