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CenturyLink, OPALCO team up on temporary fix, restore communication lines
A team of divers on Thursday morning began assessing damage to the severed underwater fiber cable that shutdown lines of communication earlier in the week on San Juan and its surrounding islands.
Whether the cable will be repaired or replaced will be determined based on that assessment, according to CenturyLink spokeswoman Jan Kampbell. The severed portion of the cable is located about one mile offshore of Lopez Island.
Meanwhile, a temporary solution is in the works that will restore voice and 911 service for CenturyLink customers on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez islands, according to Kampbell.
Kampbell noted in an email that CenturyLink will use Orcas Power & Light Cooperative's fiber cable and microwave system to connect customers with voice and 911 phone service while work on the severed cable proceeds.
Damage to CenturyLink's underwater fiber cable has disrupted telephone, internet and a wide spectrum of wireless communication service since early Tuesday morning. Islanders have used various wireless "hotspots", such as San Juan Island Library, to connect to the internet, conduct business or access email accounts since the breakdown of communication.
According to San Juan Island & Town of Friday Harbor Department of Emergency Management, AT&T is setting up a portable cellular phone service site in Friday Harbor, Thursday morning, which is expected to provide service for its wireless customers.
Until service is restored, Lopez Island residents are advised to use either cellphones or land lines to call Lopez Fire district in the event of a emergency, 360-468-2991, or to go in person to district headquarters, 2228 Fisherman Bay Road.
Similarly, residents of Orcas Island should use either a land-line or cellphone to call the Orcas Fire Department in case of an emergency 360-376-2331; 45 Lavender Lane.