As of 6 p.m. tonight, 50 percent of Liberty Puerto Rico’s customers have been reconnected to services following the impact Hurricane Irma had on the island late this week, company President Naji Khoury said.
“In the last 48 hours we have seen great progress in the percentage of customers already reconnected, increasing from 10 percent on Thursday afternoon, to 24 percent on Friday night, to the 50 percent we have at the moment,” he added.
Hurricane Irma sideswiped Puerto Rico late Wednesday and Thursday, knocking down hundreds of trees and utility poles along its path, affecting telecommunications services and electricity throughout the island.
Liberty’s technical staff is visiting areas where there is already power but the equipment is having problems. In addition, they continue to restore fiber optic cables and posts that were damaged.
“We appreciate the efforts of our employees, who have worked tirelessly to reconnect Puerto Rico,” said Khoury.
“We also want to acknowledge and thank the work of the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA,) with which we have been collaborating in an extraordinary way to restore both services as quickly and efficiently as possible,” Khoury said.
“For this reason, many of our customers are already enjoying our services after having recovered energy in their homes,” he said.
Liberty has established a link so that customers can report service failure. The company also reiterated that since Sept. 4, prior to the passing of Hurricane Irma, the service was not being suspended due to lack of payment, and the company did not assess late fees. Liberty will continue with this policy over the next few days, the company confirmed in a statement.
Telecom Board says 82% of infrastructure has recovered
In related news, Puerto Rico Telecommunications Regulatory Board President Sandra Torres said Saturday that 82 percent of the island’s telecom infrastructure is back online.
A workgroup she leads, along with Engineer Ricardo Ramos-Rodríguez, are still identifying critical areas to energize communications towers to get back to 100 percent status, she said.
“The coordination with the telecom and cable companies to verify the locations that are still without service and those that have already been energized is constant,” Torres said.
“Telecom company employees go out with PREPA brigades to the localities, which has accelerated the identification process,” she said.
Torres López acknowledged the “titanic” work of the PREPA employees to restore power service and the priority they have given to the telecom towers, many of which had already exhausted their battery reserves and electrical plants needed to continue operating.
“We are grateful for the collaboration of PREPA’s executives and employees in this effort to keep Puerto Rico communicated,” Torres said. “In only three days we can already report that 82 percent of the towers are in full capacity. We will continue without pause, actively inspecting each area to reach 100 percent in the shortest possible time.”