Frustrated SWFL residents still demanding answers from internet providers

Reporter: Asha Patel Writer: Joey Pellegrino
Customers line up outside an Xfinity store, Tuesday, October 18, 2022. Credit: WINK News

WINK News’ Tuesday story on internet difficulties three weeks post-Hurricane Ian struck a nerve, as emails and phone calls poured in from Southwest Florida residents still grappling with a lack of connection and few answers from service providers.

In just one of an avalanche of emails to WINK, John Warren wrote: “Can you folks please put some pressure on Xfinity? It’s been three weeks!”

What Warren says he found particularly galling is that Comcast is still billing customers unable to use the internet. On Tuesday, angry customers in Cape Coral lined up outside the Xfinity store on Pine Island Road hours before the store opened. WINK News met with them, and while their stories’ details may vary, their frustrations are largely the same.

“I’ve been without service since September 28, when the hurricane hit; I have not had any service,” said Jane McRary. “And we’ve tried to call, and it’s always busy, or they can’t find our account. But yet we’re paying the bill, though we can’t find the account. And then, about a week ago, a truck came and parked there and climbed this pole, and what happened? The hurricane, I guess, split the the wire in two, so half is in our yard and half’s hanging from the pole. So he cut the line off of the pole, cut that and left. That’s all they did.”

Comcast is not the only company with angry customers: One man who wrote to WINK, Cesar, has CenturyLink, and he says the company won’t give customers credit for the time during which they didn’t have an internet connection. Both CenturyLink and Comcast say they will credit their customers for every day they are without internet service.

Mindy Kramer, vice president of public relations for Comcast in Florida, says the overwhelming majority of customers have service and the company is currently dealing with mere pocket outages in different neighborhoods. Kramer would not provide a more specific timeline for internet restoration in those neighborhoods, saying Comcast crews are busy replacing drop lines that connect homes to its network.

In places like Cape Coral, Fort Myers and areas of Charlotte County, parts of the network currently run on generator power, which has been causing some service interruptions.

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