FCC Chairman Ajit Pai lowered the boom on the nation’s wireless network operators and their collective lack of progress in bringing wireless service back to the areas impacted by Hurricane Michael. “Even though efforts to restore communications services have been going well in most of the areas affected by Hurricane Michael, the slow progress in restoring wireless service in areas close to where the hurricane made landfall is completely unacceptable,” said Pai in a statement. The agency has been in constant contact with the carriers. “I’m concerned that [the carriers’] actions on the ground aren’t matching the urgency that we have conveyed during those conversations.” Pai is asking the carriers to waive the bills of Floridians in the affected area for the month of October. Pai is also asking the carriers to let customers change wireless companies without penalty. Florida Governor Rick Scott has called on carriers to take these same actions. Each of the major carriers has offered free calling and messaging in the affected areas, as well as waived data overages. Finally, Pai wants the carriers to be more transparent about where and how quickly they will restore service. Pai has asked Homeland Security to investigate the matter.
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