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Nearly 190,000 Without Internet, Phone Service in Southeastern Texas, Louisiana

Phillip Dampier August 29, 2017 Consumer News, Public Policy & Gov't, Wireless Broadband 3 Comments

Evacuations continue in Houston.

Nearly 190,000 cable and telephone customers in southeastern Texas and Louisiana remain without service as a result of the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which is still meandering offshore in the Gulf of Mexico near the Louisiana/Texas border. Service outages are continuing to increase in number, primarily as a result of severe flooding.

As of this morning, according to the Federal Communications Commission, 364 cell sites are out of service, 4.7% of the total number of cell sites in the affected area, up from 4.1% yesterday. The counties with greater than 50% of cell sites out are Aransas (94.7%), Calhoun (74.1%), and Refugio (84.6%) in Texas. Plaquemines is the only county in Louisiana reporting any cell sites out.

To assist customers, wireless companies are offering freebies for the duration of the storm and flooding (thanks to DSL Reports for gathering the data):

  • AT&T: Offering unspecified bill credits until Sept. 1 for AT&T prepaid and postpaid customers in impacted areas for any voice, texting, or data overages.
  • Sprint: Free texting, phone calls to southeastern Texas, southwestern Louisiana until Sept. 1.
  • T-Mobile: Free texting, phone calls to southeastern Texas, southwestern Louisiana until Sept. 1.
  • Verizon Wireless: An additional free 3GB of data for customers in “qualified Texas counties” until Sept. 8.

At least 189,487 Comcast and AT&T customers are out of service, up from at least 148,565 yesterday. Landline central offices are also increasingly failing. As of today, there are 19 offices out of service (up from 11 yesterday) and 22 (up from 21) switching offices now operating on backup power. Because of the outages, Comcast has opened its XFINITY Wi-Fi network for free access to everyone in affected storm areas.

There are nine area radio stations off the air, the same number as yesterday. KJOJ-FM went back on the air, but KMKS failed in the last 24 hours. The other affected stations — all in Texas — are:

KKTX, KUNO, KPRC, KKWV, KAYK, KZFM, KKBA and KEYS.

911 services are being restored in some areas, but have gone down or are degraded in others. As of today, here is the current list:

  • 911 Service Down: Calhoun County Sheriff, Tex.
  • Rerouted 911 Without Automatic Location of Caller Information: Aransas County SO, Tex.; Bee PD, Tex.; Beeville PD, Tex.; Harris Country Neutral SO, Tex.; Jackson County SO, Tex.; Kemah PD, Tex.; Kingsville PD, Tex.; Kleberg County SO, Tex.; Mathis PD, Tex.; Port Aransas PD, Tex.; and Robstown PD, Tex.
  • Rerouted 911: Aransas Pass PD, Tex.; Gonzales County SO, Tex.; Port Lavaca, Tex.; Robstown PD, Tex.; Victoria PD, Tex.; and Wilson County SO, Tex.

Currently there are 3 comments on this Article:

  1. Chris says:

    Great report! Thx!

  2. Sam says:

    It was Katrina that finally convinced the FCC to demand 4 hour batteries in cell sites. Maybe this disaster will make them improve upon that. They keep threatening to require generators in cell sites, but always stop short.

  3. Lee says:

    Batteries, generators, and the equipment they power do not work when they are submerged in water. The building would have to be above the flood level or the equipment mounted on the tower above the flood level.







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