December 7, 2012

Internet, phone disrupted by cut fiber-optic cable

PLATTSBURGH — About 100 Primelink customers in the City of Plattsburgh lost service for several hours Thursday when a fiber-optic cable was accidentally cut by a construction company.

The break happened at about 9 a.m. at the end of Waterhouse Street in Plattsburgh, where one of Primelink’s fiber-optic cables crosses the Saranac River, said Greg MacConnell, Primelink president and general manager.

Customers alerted the company to their Internet and phone outages soon after the cable was cut, he said.

”We dispatched our crews there right away,” he said. 

The six or so technicians worked to splice the 144 fibers back together. Each fiber is about the width of a human hair, MacConnell said.

”It’s a very precise remedial action that’s required, and it takes a highly skilled technician to do it,” he said.

Some customers began getting service back by 2 p.m. as the cable that provides them with service was repaired. All were back online by 3:30 p.m., MacConnell said.

Primelink provided a few customers with cellphones so they wouldn’t miss calls and worked with others to forward their land-line calls to their cellphones, he said.

He was not sure yet who will pay for the repairs, but, he said, “typically, if it’s an accident, and everybody did what they were supposed to do, it’s just part of our maintenance budget to repair.”

”We’ll spend the next few days trying to figure out some of the background details so we can figure out what happened.” 

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