Although wireless technologies like Google’s Alphabet X entity Project Loon have received significant attention in their efforts to restore telecommunication services in Puerto Rico following the devastating hurricane there, new wired technologies are also being deployed in an effort to connect residents. Specifically, Natural G.C., Pulse Supply, and TelcoBrides issued a press release this week detailing their work to use solar power and a TDM-to-SIP interconnection technology to help restore service “for thousands of Puerto Ricans.”
“The solution provided by Pulse Supply using TelcoBridges’ TMG800 addressed the SS7 interconnection issues that we faced prior to the hurricane,” said Natural G.C.’s Crucito Marrero in the release. “The connection came up on the first day and it has been up ever since. We’re continuing to collaborate together to maintain, and to extend the quality of voice and data services across all of Puerto Rico.”
Natural G.C. provides wireless and wired voice, data and video transmission services throughout Puerto Rico. The hurricane’s high winds destroyed most of the aboveground landline infrastructure, the company said. And in response, Natural G.C. said it used solar power to get its systems back online, and then it worked with Pulse Supply to deploy a TelcoBrides media gateway in its network to interconnect with the island’s incumbent carrier using the SS7 protocol. “The solution provided by Pulse Supply allows Natural G.C. to cost-effectively perform TDM-to-SIP interconnections with other carriers throughout Puerto Rico, and the Tmedia gateways add capacity while also making their networks more reliable,” explained Gaetan Campeau, CEO of TelcoBridges, in the companies’ release.
Of course, the work by Natural G.C. and its partners is just one element of many in Puerto Pico’s efforts to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria in September. Indeed, close to a month after the hurricane, Wired reported that two of the island’s 25 main central offices for wired telephone service were still down, 1,300 of 1,600 total cellular sites were down and one of the island’s four fiber-optic providers were down.
Not surprisingly, many Puerto Ricans initially turned to wireless technology to regain their communications. And in response, Google’s Alphabet X entity Project Loon worked with various operators to quickly launch balloons offering wireless services across the country. In early November, Loon announced it was delivering basic internet service to more than 100,000 people in Puerto Rico, up from the last reported figure of 10,000.
As of Dec. 13, the FCC’s status report on Hurricane Maria showed that 17.6% of cell sites were still out of service, down from 22.1% on Dec. 11.