Hurricane Maria: Summary of communication status - and lack of

Mike Hammett nanog at
Sun Oct 8 19:59:59 CST 2017

>From a WISP in USVI

A quick perspective from the US Virgin Islands of how the carriers have fared / performed:

AT&T = had a couple towers with some cell coverage after Irma and Maria.  A testament to good engineering at the tower, and redundancy in their network design.  Primarily microwave backhaul, but leasing some fiber from the ILEC named Viya.  AT&T has a major undersea cable station and POP on STT in downtown Charlotte Amalie.  They have been making progress fixing their network, STX is over 50% fixed 2 weeks after Maria.  75% market share

Sprint = 100% down for the 3+ weeks after Irma.  They have a single point of failure, relying on 10ft dishes to shoot 20-50 miles, from STT to Puerto Rico.  These cheap bastards wouldn’t buy a backup connection from Viya or Broadband VI.  I have called them out to the PSC.  Still weeks away from anything working.  Most of their customers can roam on Viya’s cell  network.  15% market share and rapidly declining.

Viya = Celluar = 30-50% up, Celluar  = 10% market share.  Rolling out LTE upgrade.
	Cable TV/Phone/Internet = 10% up, 75% market share, have a long road to recovery.  Have to wait for power company poles to be replaced / fixed before they can repair their badly damaged plant.

Broadband VI = WISP = 50% AP's up, 15% of customers.  Got up quickly after Irma, STX stayed up, STT had backhaul to every major tower repaired in 5 days.  After Maria 100% down.  Had to re-aim / repair every major tower on STX, and most of STT.  Moving focus from backhaul to repairing AP’s next week.  Tower by tower, with installers / subs going to customers in that area (who have power, almost all via generator).  In the middle of a Mikrotik 2 Cambium 450 forklift upgrade.  Impressive survival rate for Cambium AP’s, and Ceragon IP-20.  
viNGN = Government fiber middle-mile, lost 90% of their drops because there were aerial.

I am off to guide the FEMA re-fuelers to a remote tower which ran out of fuel last night. 
There have been some lessons learned.  I will compile a report in the next few weeks.  

Mike Meluskey
CTO and Founder
Broadband VI

Mike Hammett
Intelligent Computing Solutions


----- Original Message -----
From: Javier J <javier at>
To: Jean-Francois Mezei <jfmezei_nanog at>
Cc: nanog at
Sent: Sat, 07 Oct 2017 03:02:46 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Hurricane Maria: Summary of communication status - and lack of

@ Jean

Interesting stuff. Please keep this thread updated with info on that

On Fri, Oct 6, 2017 at 9:55 PM, Jean-Francois Mezei <
jfmezei_nanog at> wrote:

> I have not ound the official announcements, but the press is reporting
> that the FCC has granted Google rights to fly 30 of its "Loon" high
> altitude ballons to provide cellular cervice in Puerto Rico for up to 6
> months.
> (From my readings, there are glorified relays of ground based signals
> (which I assume some antennas have to be oriented to face up towards the
> balloons).
> The Loon will use spectrum allocated to the carriers they relay (and got
> their OK)
> Altitude 20km. (so not sure they need 30 balloons, 1 probably suffices
> to cover all of PR).
> I suspect more concrete info will be coming.

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