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Bill Nelson wants cable, internet providers to give Floridians a post-Irma break

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U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson asked the nation’s largest cable, telephone and internet providers Thursday to give Hurricane Irma victims rebates for service interruptions.

He also requested the companies provide a 60-day moratorium on late fees, interest accrual and penalties to give people time to recover from the worst storm in the state’s history.

“As we begin the recovery process, it’s important that consumers not be saddled with late fees and other necessary costs – particularly those without the means to deal with those costs,” Nelson said in the letter.

The letters were sent to the CEOs of AT&T, CenturyLink, Charter Communications, Comcast, Cox Enterprises, Frontier Communications, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon.

In Florida, 18 percent of cell sites were down, according to Federal Communications Commission data released Wednesday. But more than 85 percent of cell towers in a six-county area of Central Florida regained power by midday Wednesday.

Nelson is trying to prevent the companies from billing during the lapse in service.

Sprint, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile have agreed to waive text, call and data overage fees for its services through Friday. While AT&T extended their waiver through Sunday. T-Mobile is offering free calls and texts to all Central Florida area codes.

The youngest of seven children, Terry O. Roen followed two older brothers into journalism. Her career started as a reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, where she wrote stories on city and county government, schools, courts and religion. She has also reported for the Associated Press, where she covered the Casey Anthony and Trayvon Martin trials along with the Pulse massacre. Married to her husband, Hal, they have two children and live in Winter Park. A lifelong tourist in her own state, she writes about Central Florida’s growing tourism industry for Florida Politics and Orlando Rising.

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