As Winter Storm Uri continued to tear across the U.S. with a late-winter blast of snow and freezing temperatures, major carriers have offered some relief in the form of free and discounted services, while also monitoring their networks for storm-related disruptions.
Earlier in the week, Texas was hit hard by Uri, and Austin's KVUE TV and other media outlets published reports of widespread power, cellular and Internet service outages. AT&T acknowledged that commercial power outages were affecting service for both wireless and wireline customers in some areas. As a result, AT&T said it was waiving data overage charges for customers in 2416 Texas zip codes between Feb. 17 and Feb. 21.
The carrier also responded by rolling out power generators, SatCOLTs (satellite cell sites on light trucks) and other network recovery equipment to affected areas. It also issued a statement Wednesday that read in part, "Our teams and FirstNet liaisons are in contact with federal, state and local officials on our deployment efforts to support public safety and the communities in the in impacted areas."
Overall, AT&T described its network as performing at "99% of normal" throughout storm impacted areas.
As the storm moved Northeast across the country, Verizon acknowledged widespread service outages, and responded with an offer of unlimited calling, texting and data from Feb. 16-20 in affected counties in several states, including Texas, Louisiana, Tennessee, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
"With severe weather impacting customers coast to coast, Verizon’s network is continuing to perform well," Verizon said in a statement. "Backup generators and redundant fiber rings for cell sites and switching centers are serving their intended purpose and keeping the vast majority of the network running and customers and first responders connected."