CenturyLink and Comcast are seeking to restore the internet primarily in Southwest Florida in time for the holidays, according to company officials.
Other customers could still be without internet until early 2023.
“During the Christmas holidays, we are substantially restored,” said Martin Valence, vice president of Lumen Technologies. “If there’s anything beyond the holidays, it’s likely customers won’t be calling to tell us their services haven’t been restored.”
CenturyLink Internet Recovery Schedule
- Known internet outages are 570
- Complete restoration at the end of November
- Known internet outage is 640
- Complete restoration at the end of November
Lee – North of Caloosahatchee (Cape Coral, North Cape Coral, North Fort Myers, Pine Island):
- Known internet outage is 2700
- Complete restoration at the end of February
Lee – South Caloosahatchee (Fort Myers, Bonita Springs, Iona, Estero):
- Known internet outages are 910
- Full restoration by mid-December
Lumen Technologies, of which CenturyLink is a part, is 99% recovered, but the company only sees up to 75% of repeat customers using their services based on usage data.
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Valence said the company knows what’s going on with about half of the 25% of customers based on damage to remote terminals and lines, but the rest are overlooked either due to modem damage, power fluctuations or damage to inside wiring, or customers just have their services turned off.
The city of Cape Coral and the city of Fort Myers Beach were described as the hardest hit, with the latter requiring the laying of new fiber across the island.
The storm surge caused the most damage to lines and remote terminals, and Valencia said Cape Coral was the only community with the most customers not using their services.
Pine Island and Sanibel should recover quickly, according to Valencia.
“The problem was getting access to Sanibel and Pine Island because it was restricted for a very long time,” Valencia said. “Now that we have access, I don’t expect a long duration from either.”
Hurricane Ian caused extensive damage to electrical boxes and remote terminals throughout the area, which Valence described as “the last point on the grid before it enters the house.”
The terminals provide internet to an average of 100 to 150 customers each, and there are hundreds of them located in neighborhoods and major roads.
For remote terminals, replacing and restoring electrical parts could take a day or two, but Valence said the real challenge holding up restoration is finding and assessing needed repairs to those enclosures.
“You get impact levels that you have to assess. Are they going to have to replace it or fix it? And there’s a lot of work behind that,” Valencia said.
He recommends residents and businesses head to one of 10 public Wi-Fi locations for free internet if needed.
- Captiva Fire Department Station 181, Public Access from the main and overflow parking lots for 15001 Captiva Drive, Captiva (Lee County)
- CenturyLink Brand Building, 3445 Sanibel Captiva Rd., Sanibel (Lee County)
- CenturyLink Brand Building, 906 Country Club Blvd., Cape Coral (Lee County)
- CenturyLink Brand Building, 4001 Palm Tree Blvd, Cape Coral (Lee County)
- CenturyLink Brand Building, 10546 Tipton Dr., Bokeelia (Lee County)
- CenturyLink Brand Building, 4195 Kings Hwy, Port Charlotte, Charlotte County
- CenturyLink Brand Building, 15361 Stringfellow Rd, Bokeelia (Lee County)
- Residential home, CenturyLink facilities located off 30358 NW 41* Ave, Cape Coral (Lee County)
- Empty residential lot, CenturyLink facility located off 603 Burnt Store Road, Cape Coral, Lee County
- Residential home, CenturyLink facilities located off 1928 NW 24th Ave, Cape Coral, Lee County
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The Comcast spokeswoman said its services were almost fully restored and the company was working to restore the internet to the barrier islands.
“We are currently working on places where we are in the process of rebuilding our network, including Sanibel, Captiva, Pine Island and some of the other hardest hit barrier islands where community infrastructure needs to be rebuilt,” Mindy said. Kramer. , Comcast’s vice president of public relations, wrote in an email.
Fort Myers Beach is expected to be mostly restored by Nov. 15, Pine Island by Nov. 23, and Sanibel by Dec. 16.
Currently, Xfinity Wi-Fi Vans are parked at:
- ft. Myers Beach: Walmart Supercenter at 17105 San Carlos Blvd., which is located near the entrance to Fort Myers Beach and the Sanibel Causeway.
- Pine Island: Publix at 5100 Pine Island Rd., Bokeelia
Customers without service should call 800-Xfinity, but should expect a long wait. Online forms at www.Xfinity.com/customer-requests can be completed to notify the provider of downed lines or services.
Luis Zambrano is a Watchdog/Cape Coral reporter for The News-Press and the Naples Daily News. You can reach Luis at Lzambrano@gannett.com. Follow him on Twitter @Lz2official.