Hurricane Irma: Senators ask FEMA for help restoring cell coverage


Senators Bill Nelson and Marco Rubio are asking FEMA for help restoring cell phone coverage knocked out by Hurricane Irma.

In a letter to FEMA Administrator William Long, the pair asked the agency to “coordinate with relevant federal, state and local officials to facilitate the ability of communications companies to access affected areas, assess damage to their networks and restore service.”

As of Tuesday, 24 percent of Florida’s wireless communication systems were inoperable. In Palm Beach County, it was 33 percent, according to a Federal Communications Commission report. In Monroe County, which includes the hard-hit Keys, it was 82 percent.

Hurricane Irma: Get the latest news and information on the storm

The problem could have dangerous consequences. Most people haven’t been able to make phone calls or send text messages. And as of Tuesday, 29 911 call centers were either not operating or operating at reduced capacity, according to the FCC.

The problems can mostly be chalked up to the extraordinary number of outages throughout the state. Many cell towers are running on generators, if they’re operating at all.

A T-Mobile spokeswoman told The Palm Beach Post on Tuesday that the problem is worse than it was in Houston following historic flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, since that city mostly didn’t lose power.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Convicted murderer mistakenly released from jail 
Convicted murderer mistakenly released from jail 

The Georgia jail that mistakenly released a convicted murderer said no one will be disciplined for what happened. The DeKalb County Sheriff's Office realized a mistake was made after the murder victim's family saw the murderer on the streets. "Sounds like somebody didn't relay the right information or didn't look," one DeKalb County...
Weisberg Stables provides oasis for at-risk kids
Weisberg Stables provides oasis for at-risk kids

At Weisberg Stables north of Indiantown Road, Karin Taylor is hand-feeding fresh strawberries to six red-foot tortoises so the fruit doesn’t get sandy. She’s just given Bennett the wallaby his bottle of formula. It’s a typical morning at the 20-acre farm in Ranch Colony for Taylor, who worked as an international model for 12 years...
NEW: Wellington election sees big drop in donations from 2016 races
NEW: Wellington election sees big drop in donations from 2016 races

With two races on the ballot in Wellington on March 13 — seat 2 held by Councilwoman Tanya Siskind and seat 3 held by Vice Mayor John McGovern — candidates are seeing a return to village politics seemingly without the million-dollar influence of political-action committees and landowners that drove the 2016 election. Siskind, 49, faces...
Britney Spear’s ex K-Fed wants child support increase amid star’s Vegas success
Britney Spear’s ex K-Fed wants child support increase amid star’s Vegas success

After seeing how successful her four-year Las Vegas residency has been, Britney Spears’ ex-husband Kevin Federline is asking for an increase in child support. >> Read more trending news  Federline’s attorney reportedly sent the pop singer a letter recently indicating that he would like to renegotiate the $20,000...
Mistral declared in West Pam Beach cop impersonation trial
Mistral declared in West Pam Beach cop impersonation trial

A Palm Beach County jury could not reach a verdict Friday in the case of a 21-year-old West Palm Beach man accused of impersonating a police officer two years ago to try to coerce a woman into sex. Circuit Judge Samantha Schosberg Feuer declared a mistrial in Cristian Leon’s trial after a six-member jury deliberated for nine hours and announced...
More Stories