Broken fiber-optic cable located; CenturyLink preps for repair

CenturyLink late Monday said that workers found the two ends of a severed fiber-optic cable that caused a widespread disruption in communications in the San Juan Islands.

Located at a depth of 280 feet in San Juan Channel, and roughly 5,000 feet off-shore of Lopez Island, the cable was suspended along a rock face south of where it had originally been placed, according to the telecommunication company.

The cause of movement of cable remains unknown. It may have been the result of an earthquake, CenturyLink said, that occurred about three minutes before the first alarm went off notifying the company of the cable's connectivity failure.

"Restoring service is a top priority for CenturyLink, and we have pulled resources in from across the country to get these facilities up and running," Tim Grigar, general manager of company's wester Washington market, said in a press release.

Grigar said described the company response to search out and repair the communication failure over the first 36 hours as "amazing."

"Typically a response effort of this magnitude takes over a month to develop," he said.

Divers, repair crews, barges and replacement cable have been on scene in search of the ruptured cable since Thursday, two days after the outage occurred. The company's communication signals were rerouted through Orcas Power & Light's fiber-optic network by Saturday, restoring much of the digital communication that had been lost, but at reduced capacity.

According to CenturyLink, next steps will be assessing the extent of damage within the fiber and positioning a barge to place anchors as early early as late afternoon Tuesday. Splicing new fiber to the severed lines will begin once the barge is in place.

Survey work is under way to identify where the new cable should be positioned.





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