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Updated: Long-distance phone service cut Monday morning; Verizon scrambles to repair sliced fiber optic cable

April 24, 2012

It was not the best way to start the workweek.

Shortly after 7 a.m. on Monday, the Eastern Sierra’s phones blinked out. It left Mammoth and other Eastern Sierra customers with varying degrees of phone and Internet service or none at all.

The Mono County Sheriff’s Department said phone service might be restored by Tuesday at 5 p.m., but phone service was back online much earlier than that. By Tuesday morning, limited phone and Internet access was back

The Sheriffs department said the outage was caused “by a big-rig truck in the Round Valley area that took down several telephone poles, which resulted in the fiber optic line being cut in two places.”
At businesses, the effects of the outage varied.

Vons, for example, accepted credit cards but not debit cards, so those wanting cash back were out of luck.

Police Chief Dan Watson said he and his officers also were checking on banks, which were allowing only a few customers at time because of interruptions of emergency services, such as Internet-connected security cameras and no phone service.

At the Shellmart gas station at Main St. and Old Mammoth Road. The pumps and transactions were working fine, but the store had no telephone service.

Just 50 feet away, clerks at The Trout Fly, gearing up for this coming weekend’s fishing opening day, were using old-style credit card processors, which they said they would then phone in when phone and credit card services are restored.

The Mono County dispatch officer on Monday morning reported via emergency radio 96 strands of fiber optic cable were sliced in two separate places.

Also because of the cut cable, emergency services were thrown into a patchwork series of solutions.

When the cable lost contact with itself, no one could even make 911 calls.

By mid-day, Mono County emergency lines were being re-routed to Inyo County.

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