Dish 'Pauses' Service to Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Dish says it is "pausing" its satellite programming service in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, which are still reeling from Hurricane Maria, so they won't be charged for service they can't receive.

“The damage from Hurricane Maria has been unimaginable, and we want to make it clear to our customers that they will not be charged for service they can’t receive during this time,” said Reynaldo Pagani, GM of Dish Puerto Rico in a statement. “Right now, our top priority is ensuring our customers, employees and retail partners are safe and cared for, while helping deliver satellite internet to crucial relief sites.”

Dish said customers who don't want their service paused or want it resumed before Dish lifts the temporary pause can contact the company at 1-888-213-5727 or e-mail

The company will also issue credits for time not served, as it were, and will provide free repair or replacement of storm-damaged dishes or other equipment as power is returned and it is safe to do so.

Dish is also working with the Information Technology Disaster Resource Center (ITDRC) to provide satellite-delivered broadband and have so far installed HughesNet at "a hospital in Cataño, a fire department in Moca, a school in Ponce, and a mobile command center in Utuado," according to the company.

According to the FCC's latest report on the status of communications in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands (as of midday Sunday, Oct. 8), "large percentages" of the population remain without cable or wireline service.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.