SAN JUAN (CBSMiami) – Besides food, water and power, Puerto Rico also needs communication. Hurricane Maria destroyed most if not all of its cell towers. But Tuesday night, a small South Florida company is coming to the rescue.
Ask anyone with loved ones on the island, getting information almost impossible by cellphone.
Ninety-five percent of the islands cellphone towers are inoperative and landlines are down.
“Right now this is the lifeline for people to communicate with families,” said CJ Webber.
Webber is talking about satellite phones. They are the glue holding the island communications together.
Puerto Rican National Guardsmen were seen unloading satellite phones for government use, including rescue and recovery missions.
At Atlantic Radio Telephone, satellite phone orders were pouring in.
They’re not cheap, coming in at around $500 to $1,500 each.
So how to get the sat phones to the island?
“I have heard people going on boats, private jets, commercial flights. However they can get there right now,” Webber explained.
Atlantic Radio Telephone sent a representative on one of the first private jets to get on the island and help FEMA with communications.
Nick Perez did much more. He used the sat phones to help the airport get their communications back online.
“The next thing we know we are at the airport giving them communications so they can call and get flights in. Providing the tower with communications. We played a pivotal role getting that airport up and running,” Webber said.