CenturyLink traces San Juan Islands outage to severed submarine cable

CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) is working to repair a cut on a submarine cable that connects Washington state's San Juan Islands to the mainland. The network outage has left island residents and businesses without access to phone or Internet service for the past week and prompted San Juan County officials to declare a state of emergency. 

According to a report in The Seattle Times citing county officials, the "catastrophic failure" of the cable that links residents and businesses on the islands to the mainland began last Tuesday. The fiber cut has also affected wireless services provided by AT&T (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ).

CenturyLink said in a press release issued on Monday that it has been able to "temporarily" restore local, long-distance, Internet, and 911 services through its partnership with OPALCO (Orcas Power and Light Cooperative). 

The telco has implemented local resources throughout Washington and international experts that helped them initially deploy fiber to the islands to help repair the two-mile undersea cable. However, they do not know what caused the issue.

Besides the on-site team, the telco has also deployed a team of divers, three tug boats, two remote operating vessels and two barges. Located between the coast of Pear Point off of San Juan Island and Fisherman's Bay on Lopez Island, the barges are equipped with cranes and splicing equipment.

CenturyLink told The Seattle Times that it has deployed crews on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan Island to install equipment to temporarily restore service, but could not specify exactly when service would restore all services.  

On Tuesday, the service provider said in a prepared statement that restoration efforts on the barge were "temporally suspended due to inclement weather and 40 knot winds."

CenturyLink added that it has brought in an additional tug boat (total of three) to assist in stabilizing the vessels and is hoping to resume the restoration efforts.

For more:
- see the release
- The Seattle Times has this article

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Updated article on Nov. 12 with more information on restoration efforts.

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