Verizon: Three free months of service for customers affected by Hurricane Michael
Verizon Wireless is extending its offer of three free months of service to customers in a total of nine Florida counties in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
Verizon announced earlier this week that customers in Bay and Gulf counties would receive three free months of service.
As we first reported Wednesday, that offer has been extended surrounding counties. In addition to Bay and Gulf counties, every Verizon customer in Calhoun, Franklin, Holmes, Jackson, Liberty, Wakulla, and Washington counties will be automatically credited for three months of monthly access charges for each line. This free service is for consumer, business accounts and public safety organizations.
According to a Tweet from Verizon customer service, it applies to both prepaid and postpaid accounts.
The move comes following what some people said was a less-than-stellar response to cell service going down in the area.
Verizon said it suffered "unprecedented damage to our fiber, which is essential for our network."
But Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai, who at one time worked for Verizon, said in a written statement that service restoration was "completely unacceptable" and his agency will investigate the outages.
Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis, who is from Bay County, has been very critical of Verizon on social media in recent days. In a Tweet Monday Patronis called Verizon's response "unacceptable." On his social media channels, Patronis has been highlighting the response from AT&T and T-Mobile to areas affected by Hurricane Michael.
Verizon said it's donating a total of $1 million towards relief efforts for people affected by Hurricane Michael.
According to Verizon Wireless operations leader Tami Erwin, Verizon will donate a total of $500,000 to the American Red Cross to support recovery efforts, adding $250,000 to its original pledge to support areas hardest hit by the hurricane. In addition, Erwin said Verizon is contributing $500,000 to the Florida Disaster Relief Fund, which is the State of Florida’s official private fund established to assist Florida’s communities as they respond to and recover during times of emergency or disaster.
"First and foremost, we won't rest until our network is back to 100 percent,” said Erwin in a company press release. “But at a time when so many are hurting, the men and women of Verizon stand with Panhandle residents and visitors in undertaking the difficult road to rebuilding."
Erwin added that Verizon is working closely with community officials to identify additional ways to support rebuilding efforts on a local level. “Residents who live in the impacted areas, including our customers and employees, are facing the formidable task of starting anew – rebuilding their neighborhoods, schools, hospitals and parks. We want to be part of this effort. We’re in this for the long-term.”