Service providers continue to work on cellular and internet outages affecting hundreds of thousands of customers in the Sarasota-Manatee region following Hurricane Ian, but are not providing many specifics to frustrated customers.
Verizon posted several times on its corporate social media account telling customers it's working to fix cell service, linking to the company’s blog for updates on Friday morning. Comments under the post ranged from praising the company to criticizing the length of time it’s taking to restore service. Posts appeared to be from cities all over Florida.
“Done with Verizon no service in Sarasota since Wednesday y'all dropped the ball I thought you guys was the best service smh I was wrong,” one tweet read.
When contacted, Verizon’s media relations team linked back to the company blog and did not provide additional details as to how many towers are down and which areas are most affected.
Previous coverage: 'We prayed a lot': North Port retiree community ripped apart by Ian
AT&T opens towers to roaming as repairs on outages made
AT&T had no Facebook posts, but several tweets regarding service restoration efforts. The tweets acknowledged the outage and informed customers that the company was opening up its towers to roaming and waiving several service fees.
A spokesperson from AT&T released a statement at 1:30 p,m, Friday citing that the outages are being restored as soon as possible.
"Overall, our network has performed well during Hurricane lan and our crews are working as quickly as possible to restore service in the hardest hit areas. Outages on our wireless network are primarily due to a lack of commercial power, but we have one of the industry's largest and most advanced disaster response programs and we are
deploying generators and other network recovery equipment in affected areas, as conditions allow," the statement read.
Xfinity’s support Twitter account had one tweet sent Thursday afternoon acknowledging the storm and outages. The post had multiple responses urging the company to restore service quickly.
“The whole ‘you may be experiencing outages due to severe weather...’ duh it's because of severe weather. I want to know if yall have an estimated timeline to fix this,” one tweet read.
Xfinity spokespersons could not be reached for comment Friday.
Spectrum: Internet, wifi outages were minimal along county line
Joe Durkin, the spokesman for Spectrum Communications-Florida, said internet and wifi outages were minimal on the border of the Sarasota-Manatee county line where the company provides service.
Spectrum, which serves a sliver of Lakewood Ranch with a footprint in both Sarasota and Manatee counties, has reported most internet service has been restored in the area according to Durkin.
"Looking at it, we serve only a small percentage of that area ... The vast majority of commercial power is coming back in the I-4 corridor that we serve," he said. "Ahead of Ian, Spectrum opened up all our public wifi spots, and first responders and government folks benefit from that. As time goes on people going in and out of affected areas can access the wifi at no cost."
Frontier Communications serves the vast majority of Manatee and Sarasota counties, including the cities of Englewood, Venice, North Port, and Nokomis, which were heavily impacted by Hurricane Ian.
Social media users however are eager to find out when service will be restored in the areas impacted by Ian and called for more updates via Twitter following the Hurricane.
"Being one of those people impacted by Hurricane Ian, I'd like to suggest you post, publish or send out at least occasional updates on the status of repairs ... more than once a day you seem to think would be appropriate," a Twitter user posted late Thursday.
Frontier spokeswoman Chrissy Murray had not responded to inquiries by the end of day Friday.
Samantha Gholar covers social justice news for the Herald-Tribune and USA TODAY Network. Connect with her at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter: @samanthagholar Herald-Tribune education report Steven Walker contributed to this report.
This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Internet and cellular outages in Sarasota, Manatee after Hurricane Ian