Post-Irma, Some Still Without Internet in Florida

The power's back on in Florida. So why is the internet still out for some people, more than two weeks after Hurricane Irma struck? When power fails, so do home and business internet connections. When Hurricane Irma hit Florida on Sept. 10, 6.7 million customers lost electricity, or nearly two-thirds of the state. Nine days later, all but 1 percent of the state -- 100,000 -- had the power back on.

With internet service, it's less clear where things stand. The Federal Communications Commission, which tracks home phone, internet and TV outages, published its last update more than a week ago, on Sept. 18, when there were still close to 900,000 customers without service from cable providers.

Major internet providers such as Comcast, Charter and Cox now say 98 percent to 99 percent of their affected customers have had service restored. (AT&T cites similar figures for its overall network.) But it's not clear how many actual people still lack service.

In Houston, Hurricane Harvey caused widespread flooding that led to power losses and interrupted home phone, TV or internet service for at least 284,000, according to FCC numbers. As of Sept. 5, the last FCC report, almost 154,000 customers remained without service. AT&T says Texas is operating normally, Comcast says Houston has been back to normal for several weeks, Charter and CenturyLink say a small number of customers are still affected.

Why Outages Drag On

Many homes will get internet back once power is restored. But that's not true for everyone.

Even if a home's power is back on, there could still be problems with the underlying cable network or central facilities. Sometimes equipment in a home or street is damaged and needs to be repaired or replaced. (Mobile service tends to bounce back faster. Cell towers are more easily fixable and carriers can use each...

Comments are closed.