The huge storm that hit Florida a week ago, popularly known as Hurricane Michael left at least 20 people killed and hundreds of thousands without power. The cell service was not spared as well and today, more than 60% of the people still have issues with their cell service. It seems that wireless providers have not been doing much to fully restore the cell service to the people after the storm and the Federal Communications Commission is not happy about it.
The commission is planning to investigate the matter to ensure that the affected areas in Bay County, which include Panama City areas and Mexico Beach, have fully-functional cell service like before.
The FCC chairman is also not pleased with the slow progress in which wireless providers are handling the matter. In his statement on Tuesday, he said that cell service restoration should be treated with the urgency it deserves. FCC has been in regular contact with the wireless companies that serve the affected areas but their actions do not match what they promise during their conversations, said the chairman, Ajit Pai.
Pai and Gov. Rick Scott (R) are now calling on the wireless carriers to waive October bills for those people whose services have not been restored. Scott also wants people to be allowed to change service providers without being penalized. Following that call, AT&T is now offering free credits to people in certain areas of Florida to about 21st October. The company says that it can extend the offer if conditions demand.
In a statement released on Tuesday by AT&T, the company said that its crews are on site, working day and night to ensure that people in the affected areas are enjoying continuous connectivity.
Verizon has followed suit and is offering a 3-months service at no cost in Bay and Gulf counties. T-Mobile on the other hand is waiving several fees and offering free data, calls and messages as of 10th October. A similar initiative has been rolled out by Sprint.
Cell services are not the only things lacking in the affected areas though, because people are still waiting for basic needs like water and sanitation.