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More than 25,000 without cable, Internet as hurricane hits Florida

A satellite view of Hurricane Ian as it appeared on September 28, 2022.
A satellite view of Hurricane Ian as it appeared on September 28, 2022. (Photo courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association, Graphic by The Desk)

More than 25,000 Florida residents are without cable, landline phone or Internet service in Florida as Hurricane Ian slams the coast as a Category 4 storm.

The data was released Wednesday afternoon by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) as the eye of the storm crossed through a suburban area between the metropolitan cities of Tampa and Fort Myers on the western side of the state.

One FM radio station was knocked offline by the storm, the FCC said, while all AM and TV stations were still broadcasting as of Wednesday afternoon.

The storm is currently producing wind in excess of 150 miles per hour, which has the potential to cause significant damage to communications systems and other utilities in the state.

Currently, around a half-million people across Florida are without electricity, though the number is likely higher as electrical grid reporting systems are knocked offline.

The state’s wireless phone and data grid is proving to be more reliable, with around 3 percent of Florida’s wireless phone towers reporting an outage as of Wednesday. Nearly 190 wireless phone towers are suffering from an outage, with nearly all of them offline due to issues with the fiber lines that transfer data between nodes.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).