An internet outage slowed down daily operations for businesses and residents across Northwest Florida and Central Florida after two mainline fibers were accidentally cut late around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

An internet outage slowed down daily operations for businesses and residents across Northwest Florida and Central Florida after two mainline fibers were accidentally cut late around 11 a.m. Wednesday.

Cam Johnson, spokesman for Cox Communications in the Florida area, said two separate fiber cuts in Ocala and Mobile were the cause of the outage.

“From what I understand, the lines were cut when (a crewmember) was cutting or trimming a tree,” he said, adding an apology to those affected.

Cox Customer Care Twitter page fielded dozens of questions about the outage. According to the Down Detector website (not affiliated with Cox Communications) there were about 2,500 reports to Cox, most of them from the Gulf Coast and Central Florida areas.

Kelly Keyes-Smith, works from her house in Miramar Beach as a medical coder for Johns Hopkins Hospital in Boston. When the internet went out, she said she was “frantically” looking for other options. She was able to use her iPhone as a Wi-Fi hotspot, but it also used up some of her monthly data.

“I really need the internet for my work,” she said. “My boss doesn’t take ‘The internet’s not working’ as an excuse.”

Martin Owen, of Owen Organization, a tourism consulting business based in Shalimar, said he was sitting down to write a blog post when he realized the internet was out.

Owen said he was able to get some business done the old-fashioned way, with face to face meetings. But still, he was reminded how easy the world is with internet access “It was very interesting ... the entire world was cut off from the Emerald Coast,” he said with a laugh. “I was expecting people to be standing in the middle of the road looking up at the sky.

“It was a challenge, but we survived it.”

Public safety offices were among those affected by the outage. Joanna Soria, public information officer for the City of Fort Walton Beach said the internet affects “most of what we do.”

“Folks can’t call us from external lines, emails are not coming through, programs we use to look up someone in the system ...” she said.

Emergency services were still available as the those lines are not Cox based, Soria said. Residents could still stop in or send a message on Facebook.

The City of Destin was also without internet, which “slows down business for sure,” said public information officer Doug Rainer.

“Providing information to citizens completely stopped,” Rainer added.

Service was restored around 2:15 p.m.

At press time, Johnson said there was no discussion of a refund for the three-hour outage yet.

 

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            Customers with Cox Communications are currently experiencing an outage that covers much of Northwest Florida and north central Florida.

A representative monitoring the Twitter account for Cox is responding to complaints.

"We are working to resolve matters in Florida quickly as possible but have no estimate just yet. Thanks for your patience. -E," read one of the tweets.

OUTAGE MAP >>

Check back with the Northwest Florida Daily News for updates.