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FCC Tracks Comm Outages in Puerto Rico

Nine radio stations reported being down three days after the storm

A downed electricity pole on Monday in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico. Although little damage to the electrical grid was visible, over 1 million people were still without electricity two days after Fiona struck. (Photo by Jose Jimenez/Getty Images)

In the wake of Fiona, nine radio stations and roughly 30% of cell sites in the affected area reported being off the air as of midday Wednesday, according to the Federal Communications Commission Disaster Information Reporting System, or DIRS.

DIRS remains active for Puerto Rico. The FCC has a web page that consolidates its announcements and updates regarding communication services affected by the storm.

According to, roughly three-quarters of the territory remained without power Wednesday.

Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said Tuesday that the FCC was deploying staff to the affected areas “to perform post-landfall, on-site surveys of communications services and infrastructure as well as to assist with coordination and oversight of communications restoration.”

She said the FCC was coordinating with FEMA, CISA, other government partners and communications providers. The commission gave a two-day extension of this month’s regulatory fee filing deadline for payors in the affected areas. The Media Bureau also extended the deadlines for affected stations to put material from the previous quarter and EEO public file into their public inspection files to Nov. 14.

“Hurricane Fiona has caused significant damage within its path, including storm surge, wind damage, mudslides and flooding,” the FCC noted. “It also has caused substantial damage to the communications network, resulting in service disruptions and outages throughout areas in Puerto Rico.”

Rosenworcel said in her statement: “It was five years ago that Hurricane Maria ravaged Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, and now Puerto Rico confronts another storm with Hurricane Fiona. In times of crises, staying connected takes on new urgency. I saw that firsthand during my visit to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria, and now some of those same areas have been hit once more.”

[Related: “FCC Adds Resilient Networks Requirement”]