Keeping Puerto Rico first responders connected for Hurricane Fiona

October 5, 2022

by AT&T

Puerto Rico was once again struck by a devastating hurricane. Exactly 5 years after Hurricane Maria made landfall, the U.S. territory is now recovering from the extreme rainfall and winds from Hurricane Fiona.

With FirstNet®  – the only network built with and for first responders – public safety is our priority. And FirstNet has made an instrumental difference in keeping public safety connected on the island.

Working in close collaboration with local telecom provider Liberty Mobile Puerto Rico Inc. and Liberty Mobile USVI Inc., we closely monitored the impact of the storm across Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).

Within 48 hours of the storm making landfall, the network in Puerto Rico had 83% of its cell sites operational, maintaining 99% of coverages, thanks to hundreds of generators across the network. Today, the network is fully operational.

Dedicated mobile cell sites

And in further testament to the resiliency of FirstNet, the network in the U.S. Virgin Islands was fully operational throughout the entire storm. While severe damage in Puerto Rico will take time to repair, public safety has dedicated, on-island mobile cell sites and unparalleled support from the FirstNet  team at AT&T.

“Liberty is committed to keep providing the most reliable mobile service in Puerto Rico and USVI to the first responder community when they need it most. We were ready to support first responders during Hurricane Fiona,” said Victor Vera, director of RAN Engineering at Liberty Mobile.

Coordinating with EOCs

We continue to coordinate efforts with the local Emergency Operations Centers (EOCs). And we’re supporting the communications needs of public safety on FirstNet – from on-island first responder agencies to FEMA and those providing mutual-aid support from the mainland. This includes everything from prioritizing cell site restoral to deploying in-building solutions in places like San Juan.

When the President surveyed storm damage, FirstNet was there to help connect on-island first responders supporting his visit. As public safety’s partner, we remain committed to keeping Puerto Rico’s first responder community connected.

FirstNet is built with AT&T in public-private partnership with the First Responder Network Authority (FirstNet Authority) – an independent agency within the federal government. It is the only purpose-built network designed with and for first responders to keep them connected no matter the mission. These are the individuals who run toward danger to help protect our families, friends and loved ones. Our hearts are with the communities affected by Hurricane Fiona. Where public safety goes, we go. And we’ll continue to be there for America’s first responders – today and for decades to come.

Additional resources

  • FirstNet CRDs are also available for agencies to own. A single person can deploy a CRD within minutes, giving them even more control of their network in an emergency.

  • For 140+ years, AT&T has used technology to keep people connected during disasters and life changing events. It’s why we’ve welcomed other carriers’ customers to roam on the AT&T network so we can stay #ConnectedTogether, even if their carrier’s service isn’t available after the storm.