Governor Rick Scott said more than 2,000 telecommunications professionals in 200 Communication Technician Repair Crew Strike Teams are fully mobilized in impacted counties, working to restore cellular service. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile deployed mobile cellular towers to provide service. Scott has been touring and tweeting from the ravaged area since it was hit by the storm last week.
“At my direction, the Florida Highway Patrol has been working hand-in-hand with cellular service provider crews to get them access to service stations where repairs need to be made,” Scott said. “I also directed the Florida Department of Transportation to provide excavators, heavy loaders, and chainsaw crews to assist cellular service providers in quickly accessing sites in the Panhandle.”
While praising AT&T and the efforts made by the departments under his control, Scott was critical of Verizon, the company’s main competitor. Inside Towers reported in yesterday’s issue, that Verizon has been slowed by damages done to fiber throughout the area. Verizon issued a statement saying they are experiencing, “unprecedented damage to our fiber, which is essential for our network,” adding that crews are working “around the clock” to re-establish service.
“In Bay County, we’re still waiting on Verizon,” Scott told the Miami Herald. “If you have no internet and you have no cell phone, it’s hard to get the information out.” Scott added: “AT&T is working there, but Verizon is not.”
Scott’s State CFO Jimmy Patronis tweeted his disappointed in Verizon’s efforts in Bay County. “We are on Day 6 with no @verizon service in Bay County,” he wrote. “Phones are critical infrastructure for Search and Rescue and First Responder communications. We need the same response from @verizon as we have seen from our electric companies.”
The Wall Street Journal quoted company officials from AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint, saying they had the situation under control and were by and large operational. AT&T launched a video extolling their efforts to date.
October 16, 2018