Update: Communications restored after widespread nine-hour outage in SJs

Telephone and internet service was restored late Wednesday after a break in a CenturyLink underground transmission line containing fiber-optic cable shutdown communications and emergency 911 calling in the San Juan Islands earlier in the day.

Emergency 911 calling was back online as of 9 p.m., and long-distance telephone and internet service was restored about 90 minutes later. A repair crew was sent from the mainland to San Juan Island to fix the severed cable, which cut by an "outside contractor," according to CenturyLink.

That outside contractor was working in Friday Harbor on behalf of Orcas Power & Light Cooperative, according to a press release circulated Thursday afternoon by OPALCO. CenturyLink and OPALCO worked together to fix the severed fiber.

"We apologize to all those inconvenienced," OPALCO Assistant General Manager Foster Hildreth said, "and send our gratitude to the team who worked late into the night to make repairs so that the outage didn't extend into the holiday weekend."

An investigation into the adequacy of utility-location services, which is conducted prior to digging, is underway, according to the Co-op.

Homes, businesses and public agencies in the islands that receive internet service from providers other than CenturyLink were unaffected by the outage. However, CenturyLink is the largest provider of traditional telephone service (the so-called "land-line") is the San Juans.

Wednesday's outage, reminiscent of but much abbreviated in duration compared to the 10-day loss of communications in November, lasted roughly nine hours.

Technicians continue to monitor the repair of the recently cut cable, according to CenturyLink.





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