Hurricane Ian Knocks Out Cable/Broadband to Half Million

People paddle by in a canoe next to a submerged Chevy Corvette in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Orlando, Florida on September 29, 2022.
People paddle by in a canoe next to a submerged Chevy Corvette in the aftermath of Hurricane Ian in Orlando, Florida. (Image credit: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images)

Hurricane Ian has taken a heavy toll on Florida communications, according to the first reporting out of the Federal Communications Commission’s voluntary Disaster Information Reporting System (DIRS) following Ian's major landfall.

Cable and wireline service had been knocked out to over a half-million subscribers (526,966) in the path of the storm, which includes phone, TV and internet service. That was up from 26,716 subs out of service the day before.

Wireless cell sites were unavailable to 10.9% of the affected Florida counties, according to the FCC, but it pointed out that wireless networks often have overlapping sites that can provide continuity of service and ramp up mobile and other temporary facilities, including Cells on Wheels (COWs).

On the broadcast side, six TV stations reported being out of service, 15 FM radio stations and six AM stations.

Meanwhile, 127,858 subs in Puerto Rico continue to be without cable and wireless service in the wake of Hurricane Fiona. That is down from over 1 million subs out of service when the storm hit the island 10 days ago. Four TV stations there report being out of service, while two FM stations and one AM station say they are still off the air. ■

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.