Cox To Provide Free Internet, Phone In Virginia County Slammed By Irene

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Cox Communications said Friday it is setting up a mobile trailer to provide free Internet and phone services to customers in New Kent County, Va., and surrounding areas that were hardest hit by Hurricane Irene.

Overall in Cox's Hampton Roads, Va., area, more than 97% of customers had service restored as of Friday afternoon, according to the operator.

Most Cox customers in Virginia were not affected by Irene, according to the nation's third-largest cable operator. The massive storm, which flew up the East Coast the last weekend of August causing widespread flooding and power outages, prompted the evacuation of some 2.3 million people and caused an estimated $7 billion to $10 billion of damage.

Cox said it has set up a remote trailer at 12001 Courthouse Circle in New Kent County, which provides several laptops and cordless phones for customer usage. The trailer also has an HD television.

The trailer in New Kent will be available from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Saturday, Sept. 3, through Tuesday, Sept. 6.

"Hurricane Irene was a powerful storm. New Kent County and other areas within the Cox service area who had extensive damage and power loss," Gary McCollum, senior vice president and general manager of Cox Virginia, said in a statement. "We hope to help those in need by providing this site for residential use of our phone, internet and television services until the restoration is complete. Our teams continue to work around the clock to restore services to these areas."

Cox's Hampton Roads system is soliciting feel-good stories in the wake of Irene with a "Random Acts of Kindness" contest on Facebook to single out customers who helped their friends and neighbors in the aftermath of Irene. Through Monday, Sept. 5, Cox is soliciting pictures and accounts; it planned to randomly select 10 stories to share on Facebook with winners receiving a prize bag.