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Tech Leader Completes Game-Changing Project on Sanibel Island to Strengthen Community’s Internet Access

Sanibel Island lighthouse

The City of Sanibel is simply put, paradise. Thousands of people call the quick escape from Florida’s mainland home and even more vacation to the island every year. Connectivity across this tropical oasis requires millions of dollars in investment, ongoing maintenance, painstaking network design, security safeguards and a long-term commitment to be there.


Keeping an entire island community connected to fast, reliable Internet is no easy task. Hurricane Ian’s landfall in September 2022 demonstrated that when the storm destroyed Xfinity’s network. Within 48 hours of Ian’s passing, Comcast initiated the lengthy rebuild and its crews worked tirelessly to restore service across Sanibel. The herculean effort allowed Comcast Business customers like Tower Gallery to get back online as quickly as possible.

Marianne Ravenna is the president of Tower Gallery, an artists’ cooperative full of beautiful works. Ravenna credits the Internet with keeping the gallery in business after Ian hit the island.

“When Hurricane Ian hit, we had to close for almost five months. The Internet is what saved us,” said Ravenna. “It truly helped us stay connected and available to our customers.”

JoAnne Bedient is one of the gallery’s resident artists. She said it’s great to hear Comcast invested in Sanibel and the surrounding communities.

“Not only are our sales made through an online program, but we are also very dependent on our website and email to communicate with our 20 plus artists,” said Bedient. “Reliable Internet makes our work so much easier.”

cottage in Sanibel island
Lee County’s Tower Gallery uses fast, reliable Internet via Comcast Business to reach customers.


As we enter what’s predicted to be a hyperactive hurricane season, there’s good news to share. Sanibel’s Internet access is now more resilient, robust, and secure thanks to a major investment from Florida’s technology leader. Comcast recently completed over $72 million worth of essential work to restore connectivity and fortify the Xfinity network in Southwest Florida after Hurricane Ian’s impact. The project comprises more than 70 miles of new lines rebuilt across Sanibel, including the strategic installation of a 10-mile underground fiber line from the mainland in Lee County to the island community.

two employees working
Technicians work on Comcast’s state-of-the-art network to bring reliable Internet access to Xfinity customers.

The project is a game-changer. The new fiber allows Comcast to provide network redundancy in Sanibel, making sure there is a back-up Internet connection from the mainland. Jeff Buzzelli is the Regional Senior Vice President for Comcast Florida. He said the project’s completion marks a turning point for the barrier island.

“Our commitment to this vibrant community runs deep. This network infrastructure is a big deal and we’re proud to be actively investing in Sanibel and other parts of Southwest Florida. The new fiber line and its strategic installation should bring a sense of comfort to those on the island,” said Buzzelli. “We know that connectivity is crucial, especially during natural disasters when the Internet becomes even more essential. That’s why our Comcast teams are hard at work making sure the Xfinity network is as strong as possible and prepared to weather whatever comes our way.”

Xfinity truck
Comcast crews worked around the clock to rebuild and restore Internet access after Hurricane Ian’s landfall in Southwest Florida including Sanibel Island.

So, what exactly is the benefit of having network redundancy? It means that there are now separate fiber paths connecting Sanibel Island from mainland Florida. In other words, if one of them is down, Comcast Business and Xfinity services will most likely not be impacted because the other fiber path will seamlessly take over and provide connectivity.

The Xfinity network could still be impacted by other factors on Sanibel Island. However, the redundancy makes the network stronger and better positioned to provide connectivity for customers.


Community leaders like Sanibel Mayor Richard Johnson celebrated the news. Johnson expressed his gratitude for Comcast’s continued investment and ongoing work to connect businesses, residents, and visitors.

“Rebuilding their entire network so businesses and residents could get back online was a monumental task,” said Mayor Johnson. “Having access to fast, reliable Internet is a must nowadays. The completion of this infrastructure project is not only going to help us stay connected, but also ready for the future.”

John Lai, President, and CEO of Sanibel Chamber of Commerce also welcomed the news about Comcast’s activation of redundancy to the island.

“It’s encouraging to see a technology leader like Comcast work to ensure business and residential customers can stay online even when severe weather impacts us,” said Lai. “That is just another way they are showing up as a great partner to our community.”

Sanibel Island lighthouse
Sanibel Island Lighthouse survived Hurricane Ian’s impact.

Back at Tower Gallery, Ravenna is hopeful for the future.

“Being able to get online is vital for us and the artists we work with,” said Ravenna. “So, the news that Comcast is working to make sure Sanibel Island stays ready for whatever tomorrow brings is very exciting.”

Comcast’s new fiber connection to Sanibel is now active, but the company’s commitment to the community goes beyond network infrastructure. Since 2010, Comcast has invested over $16 million in nonprofit organizations in Southwest Florida, including Lee County.

Learn more about Comcast’s connection to the Sanibel Island Beach Resort

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