Jackson County communication severed after fiber optic line was cut

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Walden communications outage


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— The Walden area mostly was isolated from outside communication Thursday afternoon because of a cut fiber optic line. Officials reported that residents in the area could call one another but could not call out of the area or reach 911 services.

Phone service was interrupted from about 1:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Routt County Emergency Man­­­­­­­agement Director Bob Stru­­ble said Jackson County officials notified his office of the outage. Jackson County communications workers asked to route 911 calls to the Routt County Com­munications center, and Routt Coun­­ty officials agreed, but the patch did not work.

“We really can’t figure out what’s going on over there because we can’t call in,” he said at the time.

Emergency services in the area still could use radios to communicate and process some information through Routt County dispatchers, Struble said.

Most cell phones in the affected area also were not usable because they are routed from cell towers to the fiber optic line. That is especially common in rural areas, Routt County Communications Dir­­ector Tim McMenamin said.

McMenamin said no 911 calls made it from Jackson County to his dispatchers.

Struble said he was told the phones were back up Thursday evening but was not told how the line was severed. Phone calls to Jackson County offices after the lines were reported working were not answered.

McMenamin said Routt Coun­­ty would find itself in a similar situation if the area’s fiber optic lines were cut. In that case, 911 traffic from Routt County would be passed to Moffat County, he said.

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