Ajit Pai, chairman of the FCC, has issued a statement criticizing wireless operators for slowing service recovery in areas affected by Hurricane Michael. The FCC says Category 4 hurricanes, which have devastated parts of the Florida Panhandle, have disrupted Internet and cellular services for up to 300,000 homes. Verizon, T-Mobile and AT & T customers are still experiencing power outages in some areas as the hurricane landed on October 10th.
Pai asked Florida governor Rick Scott and his network carrier to waive monthly bills for affected customers and "change the carrier without penalty." It is also calling for public safety and Homeland Security agencies to investigate carrier recovery efforts, as most consumers do not have a service contract these days.
Due to extensive damage to Michael's electrical wires and fiber at the beginning of this week, Verizon is backing up and running to all customers. The company announced today that it is sharing its online recovery efforts and will provide free credit to affected customers. "All Verizon customers in Bay and Gulf counties will automatically receive three months of mobile service for each line, and this free service targets both consumer and business accounts."
AT & We also gave credit to our customers and issued a statement to The Verge :
. Our work continues today before it arrives. This effort has enabled us to protect our customers, including our first responders, from storm surge in many areas. We also deployed 15 large portable cell sites in storm-affected areas to provide connectivity. Before the storm came, we released and implemented credits for our clients. Credits will be available to customers in Bay, Calhoun, Franklin, Gulf, Liberty, Taylor, and Wakulla counties starting October 10th. We plan to continue to extend these credits by October 21, and will continue until the conditions are met. Our crew continues to work day and night to keep in touch with the affected areas.
T-Mobile has not yet sent a statement on whether to provide billing, but the Hurricane Michael network update page has been almost completely restored from North Carolina, Georgia and Virginia sites, but the Florida Panther site is still in operation.