AT&T says its wireless service is performing at 97% of normal after Irma

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Here’s some good news for AT&T customers in Florida.

The telecommunications giant’s wireless service in Florida is performing at 97% of normal.

Wireless services in Puerto Rico and Georgia are nearly restored. In Florida and Georgia, some wireline customers may be experiencing issues with their service caused by flooding and storm damage.

While wireless service is critical to your normal daily life, it can make the difference in life-and-death situations. Beyond simple phone calls, people use instant messaging, social media and other emergency apps in times of natural disasters. Over the last several weeks, carriers have been under pressure to ensure their service holds up in the face of Hurricane Harvey, and now Irma.

AT&T says its technicians are working to restore service to affected areas as quickly and safely as conditions allow. In addition to the thousands of pieces of local network equipment, its Network Disaster Recovery team has more than 20 pieces of recovery equipment in Florida.

Irma, which barreled through the Caribbean as a category 5 storm with winds up to 150 miles per hour hit the southernmost islands of the Florida Keys on Sunday morning with winds up to 130 miles per hour, leaving a trail of destruction. Almost every structure on St. John and St. Thomas were affected by the high winds. Roofs flew off of many structures in the Florida Keys as well.

The storm, which spanned the entire width of the state, weakened as it traveled north. But its effects were still felt throughout Florida as well as parts of Alabama and Georgia. For the most part, the networks held up pretty well. While much of the damage from Hurricane Harvey, which hit south Texas and Louisiana a week earlier, was due to flooding from heavy rains, most of the damage from Hurricane Irma was due to heavy winds.

The biggest issue affecting service has been access to commercial power.  As many as 15 million people across the state lost power following the storm, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Power has been restored in some areas, but it could take weeks for electricity to be flowing in all areas of the state. This is problematic for infrastructure like the wireless network.

“We are monitoring our network closely and are coordinating with emergency management officials and local utility companies,” said Karen McAllister, AT&T’s lead PR manager for west Florida.

McAllister reminds that any resident who is still without power is welcome to visit a company-owned AT&T store and charge their devices there.

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Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.