FLORIDA – Verizon Wireless customers in Southwest Florida were impacted by a widespread service outage Thursday (April 12) night.

The outage was affecting cellular users from the Tampa Bay area south to at least as far as Punta Gorda, including Sarasota and Manatee Counties.

Area police departments and sheriff’s offices were unable to send or receive calls or messages to affected Verizon customers.

The Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office reported that the outage was the result of a cut fiber–optic line, and Verizon estimated that the repair could take several hours to complete.

According to a Verizon Spokeswoman, Engineers were able to identify and resolve the issue and service was restored by 2:45 a.m. the next morning.