AT&T will bury fiber-optic cables throughout Orleans, Jefferson, Lafourche, St. Charles, St. James and Terrebonne parishes, the company confirmed Wednesday. The project will target the areas hardest hit by Hurricane Ida and is scheduled to be finished by the first half of 2022.
The announcement comes on the tails of Hurricane Ida’s widespread infrastructure damage, which included cuts to fiber-optic cable lines, and ongoing disruptions to internet and cable TV service in the metro New Orleans area. Fallen utility poles took out Westwego police’s phones and computer networks last month.
“I am proud of the tremendous work that has been done by our AT&T team to restore services quickly and effectively,” said Sonia Perez, President AT&T Southeast States. “Having said that, we learn from every disaster event and make enhancements, and we are doing the same here. This critical project is the beginning of our work to apply constructive learnings from the impacts of Hurricane Ida.”
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A press release estimates the cost to bury fiber-optic cables at “tens of millions of dollars,” but a spokesperson declined to state the final costs. From 2018 to 2020, AT&T invested more than $1.1 billion in wired and wireless networks in Louisiana.
AT&T will use sealed, water-proofed fiber cables to prevent water damage to the underground cables.
“As part of any project, our engineering and design process accounts for the local terrain and environmental conditions,” said AT&T spokesperson Charles Bassett. “We’re using fiber cables that are sealed and water-proofed, just like the fiber cables we use under the streets of New Orleans, which are constantly exposed to water.”
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