Wire damage shuts down Interior communications

Posted: Thursday, November 08, 2001

FAIRBANKS (AP) -- A damaged section of wiring in Anchorage knocked out communications between Anchorage and Interior, for hours in some places.

The mishap Wednesday morning affected long-distance subscribers with AT&T Alascom, as well as some businesses and subscribers to Internet service provider Mosquitonet.

The problem occurred when a 100-foot section of wiring was inadvertently ''stretched,'' possibly by an Alaska Railroad work crew, between Minnesota Drive and International Airport Road in Anchorage, according to Meg Sudduth of AT&T Alascom.

''All I know is that the Alaska Railroad was working on that area,'' she told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. Sudduth said she did not know whether the wires were broken or only stretched enough to disable them.

Sudduth said the outage affected both the Interior and the Southeast and that long-distance service was being rerouted and restored piecemeal over the day. By 5:30 p.m., only Healy was without service, she said.

The accident also disrupted Internet service provided by AlasConnect, a company owned by the Golden Valley Electric Association. According to AlasConnect president Jeff Yauney, the company supplies Internet service to about a half-dozen businesses in Fairbanks, among them Fairbanks Memorial Hospital, GVEA and Mosquitonet. Yauney noted that facilities like the hospital have backup systems in the event of such a problem.

The Mosquitonet outage affected the company's roughly 4,500 area subscribers, according to company founder and vice president Tom Clark.

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