Recent Storms Cause Massive Disruptions to Communications Infrastructure
Tim Karney on September 28, 2017, 1:00 am
Even though the percent of cellular towers out was only 3.8%, there were over 270,000 subscribers without cellular service in Texas on the date of the report. Non-mobile switching centers and some television and radio stations were also out of service.
On the date of the report in Florida, there were over 1,600,00 subscribers without service.
Usually, when storms disrupt cellular service in a region, it takes 24 to 48 hours for cellular providers to send mobile Cellular on Wheels (COWS) units to the area affected. However, with so many areas without cellular service, the telecom companies may not have enough mobile units to replace all the damaged towers.
Disaster recovery is highly dependent on both available electric power and reliable communications. In major storms such as Harvey, Irma and Maria, these lifeline systems may be unavailable for extended periods of time.
Responder organizations, healthcare providers, schools, retailers, and businesses of every size should have reality-based business continuity plans and alternative systems to provide their own power and communications prior to the next major storm.