Hurricane Maria: Summary of communication status - and lack of

Sean Donelan sean at
Tue Oct 3 17:55:48 UTC 2017

After two weeks it appears the situation is stabilizing (not getting 
worse) on Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. But recovery and logistics 
still seems very slow in both territories. A reminder, I am focusing on 
U.S. Territories, but other Caribbean islands are still recovering from 
Hurricane Irma and Maria.

   Puerto Rico: 16 storm related (last report Sept. 27)
                Media estimate at least 60 storm related deaths
                CDC mortatility rate for PR: average 80 deaths per day all 
   U.S. Virgin Islands: 5 storm related (last report Oct. 3)
                        30 deaths from all causes (natural causes, accidents, homicides)


  Satellite phones
      Iridium reports over 2,000 non-military satellite phones active,
         normally less than 10 non-military satellite phones active in
         Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands area.  Iridium does not
         release military usage.

  Landline phones
      813,546 landlines (CIA World Factbook)

      ILEC (Claro) reports all Central Offices have voice, data and long 
distance working.  Estimate 40% of landline subscriber local loops are in 
service, mostly in metro areas.

      CLECs - no reports

      Cable - all cable subscribers currently out of service

  Wireless mobile phones
      3,227,281 (CIA World Factbook)

      AT&T, Claro and T-Mobile announced extension of "open roaming" 
agreement between networks. I expect Sprint and Open Mobile will also 
extend their participation. Because open roaming makes accurate billing 
impossible, all carriers also announced they are waiving charges in Puerto 

     Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board announced carriers 
have continued their joint restoration agreement. PRTRB expects 60% 
restoration of service by end of October, and 100% restoration of 
service before Christmas. I can not evaluate this forecast, but it seems 
aggressive; or the level of service will be the bare minimum and capacity 
will be very congested.

     Claro reports it has at least one cell site active in 28 of 78 
municipalities, covering about 310,000 subscribers.  It may not be 
high-quality service, but its some service.

     AT&T, Open Mobile, Sprint and T-Mobile have not disclosed how much of 
their networks are operating.  AT&T stated it is carrying 8 million 
calls and 4 million texts per day.

    FCC reports 2359 out of 2671 (88%) cell sites on Puerto Rico are out 
of service.

    PRTRB reports 1254 out of 1619 (77%) cell sites on Puerto Rico are out 
of service.

    I still do not understand the different statistics being reported by 
FCC and PRTRB or how they calculate their statistics.

    ROK Mobile and M2Catalyst, mobile metrics platforms, have published 
estimates of cell tower damage in Puerto Rico

          Claro: 14% cell sites operating
          Open Mobile: 8% cell sites operating
          Extended Network: 7% cell sites operating
          T-Mobile: 31% cell sites operating
          CLARO|TELCEL: 6% cell sites operating
          AT&T: 18% cell sites operating

    Percentages are affected by the denominators, i.e. share, which wasn't 
released. But it does show all carriers experienced a lot of damage.

     American Tower, Crown Castle and SBA, which collectively own many 
physical towers leased by mobile carriers on Puerto Rico, report little
material structural damage to the towers themselves. But there was 
substantial damage to carrier customer equipment on the towers and lack 
of electric power at almost all towers. Note: there are twitter photos of 
at least two collapsed towers, but I don't know those tower owners.

    U.S. Virgin Islands has almost no change (or getting slightly worse) in 
number of working cell sites during the last week.

  Internet Services

    647 IP networks out of 1205 are routed from Puerto Rico (RIPE)

    66 IP networks out of 70 are routed from U.S. Virgin Islands (RIPE)

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