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  • Writer's pictureThe San Juan Daily Star

Telecommunications Alliance says it’s ready for hurricane season



Puerto Rican Telecommunications Alliance President Wanda Pérez, left, meets with Enrique Volckers-Nin, deputy chief of staff on innovation, information, data & technology, at La Fortaleza last year. (LinkedIn)

By The Star Staff


In anticipation of the 2024 hurricane season starting on Saturday, June 1, Puerto Rican Telecommunications Alliance (APT by its Spanish initials) President Wanda Pérez announced Tuesday that the telecommunications industry is prepared to face the challenges that may arise due to the passage of major storms through and/or near Puerto Rico and is committed to reacting quickly to maintain the continuity of services.


Pérez said some of the challenges that telecommunications companies face related to the passage of atmospheric phenomena include a lack of energy, voltage fluctuations that damage equipment, poles and cables damaged by collapses or cuts, fiber breakdowns and fuel shortages.


“The commitment of telecommunications companies has always been to offer a quality service, but in times of emergency, it becomes even more relevant, since citizens depend on internet, telephone and television services to stay informed, request emergency services, and communicate with their family and work centers,” she said. “Therefore, it is vital that we have the collaboration of government authorities and energy and fuel service providers to ensure that, if our operations are interrupted due to the lack of these resources, companies in the industry are prioritized so that in turn they can restore their services to citizens in the shortest time.”


Pérez also emphasized that it is of the utmost importance that the cleaning brigades avoid cutting fiber optic cables that have fallen to the ground since this delays the recovery period of the networks considerably and can even affect communications workers as well as customers.


To promote coordinated work, the APT has made itself available to participate in multisector work teams with entities such as the Puerto Rico Business Emergency Operations Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency, as well as to work in the Emergency Operations Center.


Pérez stressed the industry’s proactive approach, with many companies implementing measures to ensure service continuity. Those measures include the installation of generators, batteries, and solar technology in critical locations, the use of underground fiber optics, the purchase of diesel storage tanks for energy redundancy, the implementation of small cells and new technologies for connectivity, and investment in advanced technology for rapid recovery of cut fiber lines.


Additionally, APT members have ensured an adequate equipment inventory, reviewed antenna stability, inspected fiber optic routes, and performed cleanup work to prevent vegetation and other debris damage.


“Staff preparation is equally crucial,” Pérez noted. “Companies have emergency plans and have conducted training so that employees, from technicians to managers, are ready to respond quickly during service interruptions. Our commitment is to keep Puerto Rico connected, even in the most adverse circumstances.”

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