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Seattle businesses lose internet after vandals target copper, fiber wires

Lumen Technologies says crews have been working long hours to get lines fixed, but because of the extent of the damage, it could take weeks to complete repairs.

SEATTLE — Damaged copper and fiber wires under the Magnolia Bridge that caused internet and phone service issues for around 1,300 customers could still take days to weeks to fix, a spokesperson for Lumen Technologies said Thursday. 

The company says someone stole and vandalized wire on Jan. 20, and once repairs were complete, hit the site again. It released this statement on Jan. 27:

"Lumen techs have been working long hours to restore services for our customers affected by the theft of the fiber and copper wiring under the Magnolia bridge late last week.

"Our team has successfully restored internet and voice service to more than 550 customers out of the approximately 1300 who were part of the outage. Additionally, we currently have 600 voice and 150 internet customers who remain without service.

"Unfortunately, the restoration is taking longer than normal due to the extent of the damage caused by the vandals. We are repairing more connections daily and expect full restoration for all customers in 2 to 3 weeks. We greatly appreciate the patience of the Magnolia community as we work through this issue. We will continue to keep our customers and community updated on our progress."

The outage meant disruptions for local businesses like Niko's Gyros on 32nd Avenue West, where Alexandra Serpanos said phone service out for days meant no phone-in to-go orders or credit card charges, a hit she believes cost them thousands. 

"We depend on the phone and the majority of our customers do use a credit card of some sort so that was disabling us. It was choking our business since Thursday when there was neither phone lines nor internet," Serpanos said. 

She said after days without service, her longtime credit card processor, PridePays, came by with a hotspot and helped get her temporarily up and running.

"Margins on restaurants are small and tight as it is, so we were very fortunate to get up and running yesterday," Serpanos said.

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