Cellular Outages

David Andrews

Florida Cell Sites

As Ian’s aftermath became more clear, more cell sites were beginning to falter. Out of a total of 14,188 sites, 1,552 or 10.9 percent, were not working yesterday, according to the FCC’s Disaster Information Reporting System. The bulk of those, 795 had no power. 577 had data transport issues and 180 were damaged. An additional 527 sites were operating on backup power.

Every Florida County is part of the DIRS report. Lee County was the hardest hit, with 259 out of 394 sites not working. Most of those, 136, had data transport issues while 118 had no power and five were damaged. An additional 64 sites were running on backup power.

Hillsborough County was the second-hardest hit, with 144 out of 1,297 cell sites out of service. 87 had no power, while 40 had data transport problems and 17 were damaged. An additional 65 were operating on backup power.

Glades County Emergency Management, Hendry County Sheriff’s Department, Highlands County Sheriff’s Department, and Sanibel Police Department Headquarters communications were rerouted to another 911 call center with location information.

Cable and wireline companies reported 525,966 subscribers out of service in the disaster area for Hurricane Ian; this includes the loss of telephone, television, and/or Internet services. This is up from 26,716 subscribers out of service on Wednesday.

Broadcasters began reporting outages. Fifteen FMs reported being off-air; So too, did six television and AM stations.

The FCC gave a verbal waiver to Florida public safety officials to use 700 – 800 MHz interoperability channels. It granted a request from the American Radio Relay League to relax some rules to allow ham radio operators to assist in restoration efforts.

By Leslie Stimson, Inside Towers Washington Bureau Chief

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