Jamie Barnett was quoted in an article in Communications Daily on the threat that Hurricane Irma posed to wireless carriers. Hurricane Irma's high winds meant downed towers and lack of power.
"Carriers are right to be concerned about Irma," said Barnett. "Of the nearly 8,000 cellsites in the area affected by Harvey, only about 4 percent to 5 percent took a hit, nearly all of them around Rockport, Texas, where the eye wall came ashore, Barnett said. "The wind damage to all infrastructure and buildings there was catastrophic, and cellsites can hardly be expected to stand up to winds that are able to blow down a building or blow its roof and walls off," he said. "Harvey caused and is still causing terrible damage in Texas because of the flooding."
Irma's threat "is from its long sustained and frighteningly destructive winds, with wind speeds that are more often found in a tornado with all of its concentrated, destructive strength," Barnett said. Irma "could rake the length of Florida" and still be nearly a Category 3 storm, he said. "To the degree that the cellular infrastructure survives, there is still the problem of power outages that may last for days. Many of the cellsites have backup power, but batteries and generators are not set up to last for days, and even if the carriers can keep those surviving sites going, people need power to keep cell phones charged up."