Jamie Barnett was quoted in a Communications Daily article on September 28, 2017, about damages to the FCC Disaster Information Reporting System after Hurricane Maria. The system has been unable to capture information from Puerto Rico since the hurricane, which would require internet access. Most of the island is offline and very few radio stations are on-air. Fixing the system is a priority, but there is no way to bring in truck support at this time.
Barnett said the damage isn't comparable to recent big hurricanes, but rather like the devastating Haiti earthquake of 2010. "You have taken out first responders," he said. "You’ve taken out governmental functions, the power grid, communications, healthcare." The FCC did studies after the Haiti earthquake and may need to look at what it found then, Barnett said.
The widespread outages mean that people cannot communicate with loved ones or reach emergency services. The telecom alliance is seeking federal help to get fuel to critical parts of the communications infrastructure so that repairs can begin.