For the first time since Hurricane Irma in 2017, internet and cellphone service was down throughout the most of the Florida Keys following an accident on U.S. 1 on Thursday morning.
With no way to share information, residents and visitors in the Lower and Middle Keys were left to guess what exactly had happened. U.S. 1 Radio was able to transmit from its radio tower, but the station was unavailable through the internet. Little to no information was accessible to provide listeners with a reason for the outage.
A trash truck struck a pole at Mile Marker 86 that had copper and fiberoptic cables carrying both AT&T and Comcast lines, according to Comcast and the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Most residents and businesses from Islamorada to Key West were affected. The incident occurred at approximately 8 a.m., according to the Sheriff’s Office spokesman Adam Linhardt. There were no reported injuries in the accident.
“It hit the pole and took down the line,” Comcast spokeswoman Mindy Kramer said. “We had a similar issue in Panama City after Hurricane Michael.”
Comcast had staged crews in the Keys before Tropical Storm Eta for storm preparation and recovery purposes, Kramer said, and they immediately were working to restore service throughout the Keys, she said.
Some service had begun to be restored as of 11:45 a.m. on Thursday.
Internet and cellphone service was out for not just private businesses and citizens, but for local law enforcement and government agencies as well.