AT&T cell phone service in the Baton Rouge area was mostly restored Tuesday, the Louisiana Public Service Commission.
Service for AT&T customers, including law enforcement, was knocked out Sunday because a station on Choctaw Drive flooded, according Eve Gonzalez, PSC executive secretary. It'll take a couple weeks to make repairs.
In the meantime, she said, AT&T has installed 11 temporary towers and rerouted some phone services through New Orleans.
“We’re working around the clock to complete the necessary repairs and take steps to fully restore service for all of our customers. Also, we’re deploying additional equipment to aid emergency personnel and add temporary capacity where needed,” AT&T said in its statement Tuesday.
The company did not respond to a request for additional information.
Meanwhile the PSC has added to the agenda for its Aug. 31 meeting a discussion to address disaster-related phone issues, such as crediting the bills of victims who exceeded their data limits or used too many minutes.
“Exceeding your data limit on a smart phone can bring unexpected charges on your next bill. The last thing a person fighting this flood needs is a big phone bill arriving just when they are getting their lives back in order or reconnecting with family,” said PSC Commissioner Foster Campbell, who is also running for the U.S. Senate.
The PSC regulates landlines but not cell phones in Louisiana.
AT&T also opened five of its Baton Rouge stores to provide free charging stations, calls and Wi-Fi. The stores are at the Mall of Louisiana, 6770 Siegen Lane, 7539 Corporate Blvd., 3111 S. Sherwood Forest Blvd. and 5555 Main St. in Zachary.