Hurricane Maria: Summary of communication status - and lack of

Sean Donelan sean at
Wed Sep 27 21:44:30 UTC 2017

After a week without power, all the stationary batteries throughout the 
telecommunications network are likely completely drained.  This makes 
restoration even more difficult, like a dead car battery needing a jump 

I am focusing on U.S. territories, but there is also disaster response 
from Hurricanes Irma and Maria on Antigua and Barbuda, Cuba, Dominica, 
Montserrat, Saint Martin, and St. Kitts and Nevis.

Fatalities, including deaths attributed to post-hurricane recovery:
    Hurricane Iram: 72 - Florida; 40 - Caribbean
    Hurricane Maria: 16 - Puerto Rico; 2 - U.S. Virigin Islands; 15 - 
Dominica, 3 - Haiti; 2 - Guadeloupe

Department of Defense:
    Supporting FEMA, the Department of Defense has deployed USNORTHCOM 
Brigadier General Rich Kim to Puerto Rico to manage the Title 10 
(military) response efforts in Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands. 
USSOUTHCOM continues to support relief activities elsewhere in 
the Caribbean.

Airports and sea ports:
    Puerto Rico: 3 sea ports open; 5 sea ports open with restrictions, 
daylight hours only. 9 airports are open. Only San Juan Airport open to 
commercial air traffic, approximately 15-20 commercial flights.  All 
other flights reserved for priority military and relief activities.

    U.S Virgin Islands: 4 sea ports open with restrictions, daylight hours 
only.  U.S. VI airports closed except military and relief flights.

    Puerto Rico: 1.57 million customers out of service. An estimate of 4% 
has been restored. Restoring power to airports, hospitals, sea ports and 
water treatment plants are still critical priorities.  80% of transmission 
lines damaged, power generation plants appear intact.

    U.S. Virgin Islands: 55,000 customers out of service, most of the 
islands. St. Thomas has five feeders partially energised. St. Croix has 
three feeders partially energized. Restoring power to airports, hospitals, 
sea ports and water treatment plants are still critical priorities.


   Pictures posted on twitter of joint restoration meeting between 
telecommunications providers, FEMA and Puerto Rico Telecommunications 
Regulatory Board. From the logos & colors on shirts: Claro, T-Mobile, 
Sprint, and many other company logos I couldn't make out (estimate 20 
people in the room).

   Reports of generators and fuel stolen from cell sites and remote 
telecommunications locations. This is not unusual during disasters.  The 
Puerto Rico Telecommunications Industry Alliance, which appears to be a 
lobbying group of communication companies in Puerto Rico, has sent a 
letter about the need for FEMA to coordinate logistics and prioritize 
access to fuel and security. PRTIA (or APT in Spanish) has existed for a 
few years, but I can't judge if its letter represents telecommunication 
companies in Puerto Rico.

   Puerto Rico:
      2,432 of 2,671 cell sites (91%) out of service.
      No update/change to cable and wireline systems, about 55% of central 
offices with voice, data and long-distance.  The rest with only local 
voice, no inter-office connections.  No clear description about status of 
local loops or subscribers with service.

      Pictures of Liberty Cable PR repair crews posted on twitter. I still 
haven't found a public statement about LibertyPR's status.

      Approximately 450-500 out of 1200 Internet networks and 35-38 out of 
48 ASNs are present in the global Internet routing table, with occasional 
up/down changes due to restoration activity.

   U.S. Virigin Islands:
      70 of 106 cell sites (66%) out of service.
      No update/change to cable and wireline systems.

      U.S. Virgin Islands Internet routes have nearly returned to normal, 
with occasional up/down blips due to restoration activity.

I'm not ignoring the status competitive and smaller USVI and PR 
communication providers, its just difficult to find official statements 
from them.  If you have status about them, let me know.

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