TAMPA (FOX 13) - A widespread outage left tens of thousands of people in the Tampa Bay area without internet or phone service on Friday, and it turns out Frontier Communications' takeover of Verizon's territory is apparently to blame.
It started around 6 a.m. when some AT&T Wireless customers lost phone and data service on their cellular devices. Frontier took the blame for that, adding that a "fiber cut involving a third party" also contributed to the problem.
Most AT&T service was restored by 9:30 a.m., but the outage apparently continued for some former Verizon FiOS customers. Many contacted FOX 13 throughout the day, complaining that their service had been down since the morning.
Some said they'd been told by Frontier technicians that it could be weeks before things were fixed.
"That's a communications issue, more than anything else. It's certainly not going to be weeks," Frontier spokesman Bob Elek told FOX 13 News. "Any issues that customers are going to have, we're going to resolve as quickly as possible."
VIDEO: Watch the entire interview
Elek repeatedly insisted there was "nothing widespread" about the outages.
"We should have everything back in working order between, I would say, the next 48 to 72 hours," he continued. "I wouldn't say that's across the board; that's an outside window."
Elek also asked the company's new customers to be patient with the initial transition process.
"They should think about this as a transition with the transition and not an issue with the company itself," he added. "This is a large, complicated undertaking. We will work through this very quickly and get back to business as usual."
FOX 13 was inundated with calls, e-mails and tweets about interrupted service.
Milton Sheen is a small business owner in Largo. He says he showed up to work Friday, his Internet was down and so was his business’s website.
“Our website is probably 75 percent of our business and it totally took us down until about 4:00 thanks to Brighthouse coming out and upping our speed basically,” said Sheen. He says Brighthouse came to the rescue by upgrading the speed for his backup server.
Sheen says the outage is responsible for several thousand dollars in lost sales during the ordeal.
Businesses were not alone. Outages continuing into the night have been reported by customers from Tampa to Lakeland and Parrish and beyond.