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AT&T working overtime to help connect with friends, family in Puerto Rico

in Apolitical/Top Headlines by

As part of its recovery efforts, AT&T has set up a new website to help family members of those in Puerto Rico connect with loved ones after Hurricanes Maria and Irma.

Starting Saturday, the company staged relief flights with a variety of restoration equipment — generators and humanitarian supplies – to offer aid to Puerto Rico. The first flights carried over 20 generators to help restore communications and bottled water, food supplies and personnel.

The site, att.com/mariaupdate, allows anyone in the U.S. (regardless of carrier) to register a cellphone number of a family member or friend who is an AT&T wireless customer in Puerto Rico. When the Puerto Rican customer’s cellphone connects to the network in Puerto Rico, the customer will get a notification that a family or friend stateside has been trying to contact them.

The registered family member or friend will receive an email when more services in Puerto Rico are restored.

“We are committed to the restoration and recovery efforts for the people of Puerto Rico. With this website, we are helping them reach family and friends in the U.S. as services restore,” said AT&T Communications CEO John Donovan. “Critical help has been arriving this weekend, and more is on the way” starting Monday and in the coming days.

Donovan traveled on one of the first relief flights into San Juan Sunday to help assess damage and develop the recovery plans. Shipments also included satellite devices to support first responders in the hardest hit areas.

Both Maria and Irma caused significant storm damage, power outages and flooding interrupted service throughout Puerto Rico and the Caribbean region. In the U.S. Virgin Islands, another territory ravaged by Irma and Maria, AT&T already set up a portable cell site set up near the St. Thomas airport.

The company will be automatically issuing credits and waiving other fees through Sept. 29 to give unlimited data, talk and texts to AT&T wireless customers and unlimited talk and texts to AT&T PREPAID clients in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Payment dates for affected AT&T PREPAID customers with voice and text service will be extended through Sept. 29.

Eligibility for credits is based on billing ZIP code for AT&T wireless customers and billing phone number for AT&T PREPAID customers. Customers will see credits in 2-3 billing cycles.

Updates on AT&T’s continuing efforts are at about.att.com.

 

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.

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