Cell tower backup plans

As Hurricane Michael moves across the southeast, cell carriers will report to the FCC how many cell sites are out of service.

Generally, there are more cell sites in cities. The loss of a city cell site is less severe because neighboring cell sites are close to overlap the area. There are more sources of backup power, and fuel (natural gas, diesel, etc) for generators. In cities, cell sites are less exposed on buildings than free-standing cell towers. COWs, COLTs, etc. are also more quickly deployed in cities. COWs and COLTs need connectivity to the PSTN to work, and there are most connection options in cities.

In rural areas, there are fewer cell sites, spread further apart. The loss of even a single cell sites in rural areas often has a huge impact compared to cell sites in cities because no nearby towers, difficult to reach for repairs, electical grid is sparser. Land is cheaper in rural areas, so its cheaper to install a solar panel array. But as happened in Puerto Rico, solar panels don't survive Catagory 5 hurricanes any better than cell towers.

Long way to say

Both city and rural cell sites have some backup power (usually batteries). You just notice the loss of a few cell towers in rural areas more than the same number of cell sites in cities. Of course, catastrophic damage such as in Puerto Rico impacts everywhere.