Cable operator offers free WiFi, outages mainly linked to power cuts
10/10/2016 1:45 PM Eastern
By: Mike Farrell
As Hurricane Matthew made its way out to sea Sunday night and Monday morning, Comcast said it has begun the process of restoring service to its customers in the affected areas.
Hurricane Matthew, which killed more than 1,000 people in Haiti when it ripped through that island nation Oct. 4, has been attributed to about 22 deaths in Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia as it made its way through those states over the weekend.
The hurricane brought heavy rains and flooding due to storm surges as high as 11 feet in some areas. As of Monday afternoon, the storm moved out to the open sea, but areas of North Carolina were hit hard by flooding ad damage from high winds. A levee breach in Lumberton, N.C., left about 1,500 people stranded on the rooftops of their homes on Monday, as rescue workers moved in.
Comcast Central Division spokesman Brian Farley said most of the service issues in the cable company’s territories in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina were tied to commercial power outages and restricted access to facilities due to hazardous conditions and closures. In an e-mail message, Farley said for most customers services should be restored after power comes back and access to damaged facilities and downed lines have been cleared.
“Once cleared and access is gained, we will continue to work around the clock until services are fully restored for every customer,” Farley said in the message.
Technical crews are well underway placing and refueling generators and are starting to assess damage and beginning repairs where it’s safe to do so.
“We thank our employees who have been preparing for days and are now working non-stop to best serve our customers,” Farley added. “We’re also working very closely with state and local governments and power companies to coordinate efforts during the restoration process. We hope our customers are safe and we appreciate their patience as we know how important our services are to them.”
On Saturday Comcast activated free XFinity WiFi hotspots in all three states, making the wireless high-speed data network available to all residents in the affected areas, including non-Comcast customers.
“During times like this, it is critical that we keep residents connected to family, friends and emergency resources,” Farley said in the mail message. “By creating WiFi access, we hope we’re able to provide some degree of support during this difficult time.