The mobile phone network in Puerto Rico is either mostly unavailable or has entirely failed, according to numerous reports from people trying to get in touch with relatives and loved ones.
Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, the most intense in nearly a century. Power is out on the entire island, and cellphone towers were reportedly knocked over—leaving the prospect that communication on the island could be a continuing problem.
A T-Mobile spokesperson confirmed outages on Puerto Rico.
“Puerto Rico has experienced widespread devastation from Hurricane Maria that knocked out power and services across the board. We’re working as fast as we can to get customers back online,” the spokesperson said in an email.
An AT&T spokesperson also confirmed that its network had been damaged.
“We are closely monitoring our network in Puerto Rico and assessing the full effects of Hurricane Maria. Storm damage is significant across the region and commercial power is unavailable, both of which can affect our ability to provide service. We are coordinating with local authorities and deploying resources as rapidly as possible to assist in restoration and recovery efforts as quickly as conditions allow,” the spokesperson said in an email.
The Federal Communications Commission reported on Thursday afternoon that almost all of the cell sites on Puerto Rico were out of service.
Numerous people posted on social media that they were still unable to reach people on the island through their mobile phones.
Puerto Rico’s power & cell service is literally out everywhere on the island there’s no way to check on my fam
— ᴎᵄ࿆†࿊ (@xo_keiline) September 21, 2017
No power and cell service in Puerto Rico means it’s impossible to get updates on loved ones there. Praying everyone is safe.
— Jason Davis ⚽🦅 (@davisjsn) September 20, 2017
Right now we are having issues in Puerto Rico with all cell cites being affected by the hurricane at this time.
— Sprint Care (@sprintcare) September 21, 2017
Some have reported being able to find some service.
Thursday morning. We are ok and so is our house. Puerto Rico has suffered extensive damage. Internet and cell spotty. #HuracanMaria
— David Gasser (@dfgasser) September 21, 2017
Internet access on Puerto Rico also appears to be mostly out, as detailed by Dyn Research.
It released an image showing that DNS queries– outgoing internet traffic from the island, in other words–just about stopped after the hurricane hit.
Good samaritans had begun to coalesce around a hashtag—#MeUnoAyudar—offering people on Puerto Rico with internet access the chance to contact people.