Temporary fix for phone outage in San Juans, but problems persist

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by ELISA HAHN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @ElisaHahnK5

KING5.com

Posted on November 11, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 11 at 7:25 PM

SAN JUAN ISLAND, Wash. -- CenturyLink says it has temporarily restored local, long distance, and 911 services to the San Juan Islands. But some businesses say they're still having data issues.

At Lakedale Resort on San Juan Island, customers can call the front desk, but they still cannot book a reservation online.

"We don't know if people are trying cancel if people are trying to book same day reservations or future reservations," said Karl Bruno, the resort's general manager. "So it's been very challenging for us."

Bruno says the communication disruption may have already lost them one major booking for an $8,000 company retreat. The resort still has no credit card interface and can't access the internet.

"We literally feel disconnected," said Bruno, who hopes customers realize they are still open for business.

For the San Juan Islands, it is now seven days since the fiber optic line was severed. CenturyLink has brought in a barge, a team of divers, and deployed an ROV to diagnose the problem. The line is 250 feet down and two miles long.

According to CenturyLink, a temporary fix re-established 911 services, some cell service and land-line calling for most of the islands.

On Monday, Spring Street Deli was back up to full speed, but the problem hit its cash register hard.

"I'm thinking close to $1,200," said deli owner Laura Flaum of the money lost.

What's unclear, Flaum said, is how many tourists avoided the islands altogether during the outage.

"Even when you're on vacation or a trip, you're still working from your phones, your tablets, and your computers," said Flaum. "And I think it may have made people nervous enough to not come."

CenturyLink is working in partnership with OPALCO to repair the fiber line. The company estimates they'll have additional capacity for private phone lines by late Tuesday.
 

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