Gov. Ron DeSantis continues to be concerned about Comcast’s lack of internet connectivity in some storm-ravaged parts of Southwest Florida.
“The way our lives are, it’s not as important as the power, but it’s maybe close, because so much stuff is tied on to that.” DeSantis said Tuesday in Sanibel Island.
The Governor is also suggesting that billionaire Elon Musk’s Starlink units could be part of a “community” solution.
“The fact that most of the internet has been restored in other parts of the state, we have been able to collapse some of those devices,” DeSantis said.
The state could “deploy those Elon Musk devices on a community basis like in different neighborhoods,” DeSantis continued, noting that details are far from finalized.
“What would that look like? How would we be able to do it? Because my sense is there’s some parts that have just been out of internet. There’s some parts that have it. Maybe it’s a little more spotty than you would like, but at least you have some connectivity. But there’s still some neighborhoods that have not had Comcast reconnected yet,” DeSantis said.
DeSantis told media Tuesday in Sanibel Island that ongoing issues with debris removal and destruction from the storm led to some “severed” fiber lines in storm-hit areas.
“They have repaired some of them, but with the debris removal and some other things going on, that is aggravating some of those fiber lines,” DeSantis said. “They’re working on it.”
DeSantis mentioned Comcast specifically because at a press conference Monday, a local Comcast customer asked about poor internet reception in his area. DeSantis suggested that “Elon Musk devices” and “Musk stuff” at public areas in each county may help in the short term, referring to the units Musk offered for free in Ian’s wake.
The redeployment of units that aren’t needed was a new wrinkle in Tuesday’s comments, however.
On Monday, DeSantis had offered comments on international affairs when discussing Florida internet problems, taking Musk’s side after the South African billionaire complained about the cost, before relenting.
“When Russia invaded Ukraine, Elon Musk positioned his satellites over Ukraine and gave them these things. So they’ve actually been using his devices to be able to defend their country, and I guess some of the people in the government were attacking Musk,” DeSantis said Monday.
“And I’m just thinking to myself, ‘He’s doing this for free,’” DeSantis said. “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you. Good Lord!”
The Associated Press reported Friday that Musk had officially asked the Pentagon to take over funding for the service Starlink provides in Ukraine, which costs $20 million a month. But he later reversed course.
“The hell with it … even though Starlink is still losing money & other companies are getting billions of taxpayer $, we’ll just keep funding Ukraine govt for free,” Musk tweeted Saturday.