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Your guide to the latest news from around the Northwest

November 9, 2013 at 1:41 PM

Landline phone service restored on San Juans, but cell and Internet service still spotty

Landline phone service has been restored between San Juan County islands and the mainland, but cell service — including calls to 911 emergency dispatch — remains spotty, and access to secure Internet lines is limited, according to San Juan County officials.

The San Juan County Department of Emergency Management is asking residents to report phone-related problems online at http://TinyURL.com/moqurw3.

Residents should report emergencies to the dispatch center via landline, if possible, or via email  at 911@sanjuanco.com. Cell phones should be used as a back-up, officials said.

Service to the islands went down on Nov. 5 due to a “catastrophic failure” of an underwater Century Link fiber-optic cable.

CenturyLink told the county that it expects to restore more data lines “soon,” and that by day’s end on Tuesday, voice and data capacity to the islands should be at about two-thirds of what it was prior to the failure.

There is no estimate on when full service will be restored, but repairs are expected to take “several days,” the county said in a press release. Dive teams and robotic subs are looking for the break in the cable. When they find it, they’ll bring the cable to the surface for repair.

The company is planning to replace about 6,000 feet of fiber-optic cable about a mile off-shore from Lopez Island, and splice it onto the undamaged section that connects the islands to the mainland, the county said.

An emergency declaration, adopted by the county council on Friday, will allow government agencies and local businesses to seek reimbursement for damages related the emergency.

Comments | Topics: Lopez Island, Orcas Island, San Juan County


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