How Connecticut internet companies are responding to Henri


As Tropical Storm Henri moved through Connecticut Sunday, telecommunication companies said they were ready to repair outages at a time when many are still working from home.

While much of the focus has fallen on the potential for days-long power outages, recent damaging storms have shown that the same infrastructure critical for electricity can cut people off from their phones and internet connection.

Lara Pritchard, senior director of communications for the Northeast region for Spectrum, said it was closely monitoring Henri’s path, which changed course on Sunday and made landfall just over the border in Rhode Island, lessening the blow on Connecticut.

“Teams are connecting regularly to monitor Henri’s track to safely pre-position staff, materials like fiber-optic cable, vehicles, fuel, generators and other supplies so we can react quickly to assess and repair any damage as soon as it’s safe and we have access to damage sites,” Pritchard said.

As Connecticut still faces the COVID-19 pandemic, internet connections have become more essential than ever as many people are still working from home.

But following Tropical Storm Isaias in August 2020, people faced connectivity issues for days after the storm, and struggled to reach customer service to get back online. Though not as severe as what was faced by the power companies, internet and phone providers faced criticism following that storm.

Much like how power companies prepared for the worst Sunday when Henri impacted Connecticut, these internet and phone providers were beefing up staffing to get customers quickly back online.

In a notice to customers, Optimum said it had been in communication with local authorities and energy companies to ensure coordination on any restoration efforts needed.