This article was published 14 years ago

No network to call for help, part 2

Hurricane Katrina New Orleans New Orleans East Orleans Parish cell tower
Workers repair a cell tower in New Orleans East, La. after floodwaters inundated the city from Hurricane Katrina.

Communication networks on the Mississippi Gulf Coast fared much better than New Orleans even though the area suffered the brunt of Katrina’s furry. Southern LINC and Cellular South, two wireless providers that serve the Gulfport/Biloxi, MS market, somehow managed to remain operation after the storm. Southern LINC had two cell sites destroyed by flood waters while Cellular South suffered extensive damage in Hancock county and Gulfport, MS.

“Overall, the SouthernLINC Wireless network and infrastructure performed well. Some sites did go off the air, but they recovered quickly, ” Jamie Schaff, spokesperson for Southern Link said in an email interview. “System traffic was monitored continuously, and cell sites that were experiencing heavy call volume after the storm received additional capacity. In total, network traffic was 300 percent higher than average and 109 base radios were added to support this increase in call volume. Flooding was responsible for equipment damage at two tower sites.”

Within three days after the storm, Southern LINC had 98% of the wireless network restored. Seven days later, the network was restored to full capacity.

Cellular South had 80% of its’ network restored service ten days after the storm. The network was fullly restored two weeks after the storm.

The company released a press release stating that “estimates indicate the financial impact of Hurricane Katrina on Cellular South are likely to be in the range of $8 to $12 million dollars.”