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Aerial of severe flooding off Plank Road near Baker in East Baton Rouge Parish on Sunday August 14, 2016. AT&T found about two feet of water inside its own local switching station during the storm. 

As Tropical Storm Barry heads towards South Louisiana, AT&T said it has taken steps to strengthen its Baton Rouge network, which had widespread problems during the August 2016 flood.  

AT&T’s local switching center on Choctaw Drive — which handles voice and data from phones — took on about 2 feet of water as a result of the 2016 rain storm. That caused thousands of local AT&T customers, including some law enforcement agencies, to have trouble making calls for about a day. 

As a result of the flooding and the criticism the company received, AT&T said it took a number of measures to improve the local network, including diversifying network paths, moving some equipment to another facility, elevating cell sites in flood-prone areas and positioning sand bags at the Choctaw station.

The company said it has disaster response equipment and personnel on standby in areas that could be affected by Barry. Preparations for the storm include topping off generators with fuel, making sure back-up batteries at cell sites are working and staging emergency response and network recovery equipment for quick deployment after the storm.

AT&T told the Louisiana Public Service Commission that its 4G LTE network was about 90% restored in 24 hours after the 2016 outage and nearly 100% back online in 48 hours. 


Email Kristen Mosbrucker at kmosbrucker@theadvocate.com.