‘Project Reconnect Puerto Rico’ makes a difference thanks to help from the community
With the help of our customers and our community Silo and Verticomm Network’s team travelled all the way to sunny Puerto Rico to help AeroNet, a local wireless internet service provider. The goal was to re-establish connectivity after the devastating effects of Hurricane Maria.
When the team, consisting of Verticomm’s technicians Dan Araujo and Dan O’Hoski and Silo’s CEO Andreas Wiatowski, arrived in Puerto Rico the hurricane’s effects were obvious.
“It looks as if 40-50% of power and fibre optic lines are down. None of the traffic lights are working, concrete poles are snapped in half and traffic lights have fallen on the highway. According to officials, 20% of San Juan has power and the rest of the island is running off generators. There is no hot water and cell phone service is spotty at best,” Silo’s CEO Andreas Wiatowski described.
The team worked long days, leaving their home base at approximately 5:30 am and returning at 7:30 pm each day.
In a total of seven days, the team repaired damaged equipment and installed new equipment onto towers in Fajardo, El Yunque National Forest, the small offshore island of Vieques, Toa Baja and Vega Baja.
In El Yunque, Toa Baja and Vega Baja, these towers have reconnected AeroNet’s customers in line of site and beyond. Ivan, a Puerto Rican local, was particularly appreciative. With his services returned, he said that he wouldn’t lose the scholarship he received for only the brightest minds in cybersecurity.
The equipment that they repaired on one of the highest mountains in Fajardo can now serve cellular phone companies, helping to reconnect businesses in Culebra, whose population is 1808, and Saint Thomas Island with a population of 51,634.
In Vieques, the team repaired more equipment, successfully getting two cell phone towers back up and running, restoring service to a population of 9,350.
“The people of Vieques can now make phone calls, send texts and access the internet through their cell phones,” Andreas explained.
Right away Arnaud, a Vieques local, made a comment on Facebook.
On their last day in Puerto Rico, Silo and Verticomm’s team joined AeroNet and FEMA in bringing clean water, nutritious food, sanitary supplies and pet food to the town of Jayuya.
“People were tremendously appreciative, thanking us profusely. They were standing at the edge of their properties waving to us and thanking us as we came down the street. It was very heartwarming.”
As for our community, they were extremely supportive. By day 4 we had already reached our fundraising goal of $7500 USD and now, we have exceeded it by $2069 USD, bringing our total funds to $9569 USD.
Of those who donated, 62% were residential customers. One of them, who asked to remain anonymous, gave a generous donation of $2000 on our fourth day of fundraising to bring us to our fundraising goal.
We would like to give a proud shout-out to our business customers who generously gave to the cause: Betco Products, Blueprint Agencies, Brooks Signs, Dancraft Stairs Ltd, Goliger’s Travel Plus Brantford, Grand Manor Estate, Grand River Dinner Cruises, Millards and Tariox Limited.
These generous contributions are extremely appreciated by us, and the people of Puerto Rico.
It’s not to late to get involved and more work is needed. Click here to help.