Intermittent cell phone service prompts extra help with coverage across Louisiana

Intermittent cell phone service prompts extra help with coverage across Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - Cell phone coverage has been an issue as thousands across south Louisiana deal with rising floodwaters and historic flooding.

UPDATE: WEDNESDAY, AUG. 17 - 2 P.M. - (From Lance M. Skelly, director of communications for global media relations for AT&T):

First and foremost, I feel it is really important at this point to make clear that our switching center, which is located OUTSIDE of the 500 year flood plain, has never flooded since opening in 1987.

Verizon tweeted out that the company would have four locations across the state that would help any person who came into the stores no matter whether or not they are a Verizon customer.

Many people with AT&T cell phones woke up Sunday morning to no cellular service. As of Sunday evening, service has been returned for some customers, but AT&T officials said crews are still working to restore service completely.

As of 2 p.m. Monday, AT&T offered the following update:

Wireless service has been restored for the vast majority of our customers as of early today.

Outages were reported in several areas across metro Baton Rouge. There are customers with AT&T phones who still have service while others have none.

In a recorded message, AT&T said it is experiencing "technical difficulties in the Baton Rouge area" and work is underway to resolve the problem.

Lance Skelly, AT&T Director of Communications, stated that one of the company's "switching centers that carriers network traffic in the Baton Rouge area is flooded due to severe weather."

"Our restoration work continues around the clock to restore service for affected customers after our mobility switching center in Baton Rouge flooded during severe weather," Skelly said. "As progress is made during these efforts, service will return for some customers and others may continue to experience intermittent service."

The company deployed resources to restore affected wireless services as quickly as possible. That included generators, Cell on Light Trucks (COLTs) and Emergency Communications Vehicles (ECVs).

Skelly added that technicians and other resources are prepared for additional restoration work once they can safely access damaged areas.

"We are monitoring our network closely and will continue to coordinate with local officials and utility companies," Skelly said. "We recommend customers text before calling when possible and utilize Wi-Fi where service is available."

Louisiana State Police worked with AT&T to try and put up 11 additional towers to help with communication.

"They're gonna be put out in the Livingston - Denham Springs area, Baton Rouge, north Baton Rouge," said Col. Mike Edmonson with LSP. "There putting one at Southern University, one on LSU's campus. One in Livingston at the Emergency Operation Center through that area. One near the airport for the Emergency Operation Center in East Baton Rouge Parish, Celtic Studios, Ascension Parish is gonna have one, and two in the downtown area, and one over here at the GOSHEP to make sure we can maintain communication in those areas."

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