Untold number of Internet outages persist in South Florida after Hurricane Irma

AT&T and Comcast, the largest Internet service providers in South Florida, refuse to specify the number of outages in the area

Sep.September 23, 2017 03:10 PM

Hurricane Irma cut power and communications throughout South Florida. (Credit: Getty Images)

Many South Floridians, perhaps tens of thousands, are still waiting to regain Internet service after Hurricane Irma shut it down almost two weeks ago.

Florida Power & Light had restored electrical power to 99 percent of its South Florida customers by Sept. 19, nine days after Irma made landfall in the Florida Keys as a Category 4 hurricane.

But AT&T and Comcast, the area’s two largest Internet service providers in South Florida, have refused to say how many South Florida customers they have, or how many are without Internet service.

Across the state, 893,409 customers had Internet outages as of Sept. 18, according to the Federal Communications Commission, which doesn’t specify where the customers are located or which Internet service provider they have.

Daily FCC reports show that the number of Florida customers with Internet outages is steadily declining. But Internet service providers themselves aren’t providing detailed progress reports.

AT&T spokeswoman Kelly Starling told the Miami Herald that specifying the number of customers without Internet service “doesn’t help customers get back in service.”

Mindy Kramer, a spokeswoman for Comcast, told the Herald that the company avoids releasing figures on outages because “the numbers are very fluid” and based largely on power-outage data that utilities provide.

Another Internet service provider, Atlantic Broadband, said it has restored service to 96 percent of its Miami-area customers but has declined to reveal the total number of Miami-area customers. [Miami Herald] Mike Seemuth

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