Over a third of Puerto Rico still without cable TV, offline
SAN JUAN – Six days after Hurricane Irma skirted over Puerto Rico’s north and east coasts, 36% of internet, cable TV and VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) customers continue to lack service, while 26% of the island’s cell towers (416 of the 1,600) are still nonoperational, mostly because of energy service problems.
This means that, since the weather phenomenon occurred on the island Wednesday night, by Monday 365 towers had been repaired out of the 781 that were damaged.
The information was given to Caribbean Business by Sandra Torres, the Telecommunications Regulatory Board president, who called the island’s telecom infrastructure “robust” because “it did not collapse.”
With 74% of the cell towers operational, “calls can be made, text messages, [cellphone users] can connect.”
Torres explained that fixing the rest of the damaged towers and connecting the subscribers who are still offline could take a longer because repairs depend on the power service.
“We depend on electricity. As soon as it arrives, cable works at your home and at the same time you can connect to the internet…. During this week, I hope to God that by Friday we are 100%. Unless it is an Electric Power Authority [Prepa] outage that needs weeks to repair, but so far I don’t think so,” she added.
More than 6,200 people sought shelter ahead of Hurricane Irma, which destroyed hundreds of homes, and produced losses estimated at $30.6 million in the agricultural sector, and left 1.1 million Prepa customers in the dark. Another 372,000 customers lost their tap water service and at least 72 roads were blocked by landslides or fallen trees.