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Communications Struggling in Southeast Texas Post-Harvey

Phillip Dampier August 28, 2017 AT&T, Comcast/Xfinity, Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't 3 Comments

Downtown Houston

Telecommunications services are straining across southeastern Texas and Louisiana after Hurricane Harvey’s remnants have caused unprecedented flooding across the region.

More than 50% of cell sites in Aransas, Calhoun, Refugio, and San Patricio counties in Texas are down as a result of electric outages and wind/water damage caused by Hurricane Harvey and its aftermath. Worst affected is around Rockport, in Aransas County located on the Gulf of Mexico. Just one cell tower in that county remains in service. In Calhoun County, only four cell towers remain functional.

911 services have strained as a result of the storm, with the city of Houston receiving as many as 75,000 calls a day. But in other parts of the region, 911 outages and other problems have forced officials in more than a dozen cities to route incoming calls to other 911 centers in the state:

  • 911 Service Down: Portland Police Department, Tex.
  • Degraded 911 Service: Calhoun County Sheriff, Tex.
  • Rerouted 911 Without Automatic Location Information: Aransas County SO, Tex.; Bee PD, Tex.; Beeville PD, Tex.; Kingsville PD, Tex.; Kleberg County SO, Tex.; Mathis PD, Tex.; Port Aransas PD, Tex.; Refugio County SO, Tex.; and Ingleside PD, Tex.
  • Rerouted 911: Aransas Pass PD, Tex.; Cameron Parish SO, La.; Richmond PD, Tex.; Robstown PD, Tex.; Victoria PD, Tex.; and Wilson County SO, Tex.

There are at least 148,565 wired subscribers out of service in the affected area. This includes users who get service from Comcast and other cable systems, AT&T and other wireline phone companies. There are 11 landline switching/central offices out of service and 21 offices on back-up power.

There are 9 radio stations out of service, all in Texas:

KJOJ-FM, KKTX, KUNO, KPRC, KKWV, KAYK, KZFM, KKBA and KEYS.

As a result of the storm, the Federal Communications Commission activated its Disaster Information Reporting System, which asks providers to report outages so the FCC can track the status of telecommunications networks in disaster areas.

More than two feet of rain has fallen — more than six months of average precipitation in the Houston area — in two days.

Currently there are 3 comments on this Article:

  1. Josh says:

    Geez, that’s amazing. Thanks for the article!

  2. BobInIllinois says:

    I doubt that this is how 911 service and cell tower sites are supposed to perform, according to plan.

  3. Dave says:

    Given the close ties between FCC and Industry I really doubt these numbers are accurate. I would assume they are much worse. The only networks working in and around Houston are LMR high power networks. Would be interesting to get Root Metrics to go there and drive a boat around testing networks…







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