Cable cut shuts down Internet and cell phone service

A majority of Pagosa area residents found themselves isolated late Tuesday when phone and Internet services went down due to a fiber optic cable cut just outside of Bayfield.

According to Kim Valiquette, manager of marketing and communications for CenturyTel, “Several thousand customers were affected, with no calls in or out of Pagosa Springs for a little over seven hours.”

Valiquette said the line was cut at just past 3 p.m. and that service was restored at approximately 10:30 p.m.

The cable damage occurred where an excavation company was working on a water line just east of U.S. 160 and County Road 521, near Bayfield. The cable, owned by Qwest, carries signals for a number of companies including CenturyTel, as well as several local cellular phone service providers. In fact, many Pagosa area cell phone users also reported limited or no service.

The outage also affected Rocky Mountain Cable Internet service, a fact confirmed by a company representative. However, Qwest spokesperson Jennifer Barton could not confirm that the outage had anything to do with Internet service outages experienced by Rocky Mountain Cable customers, although she did say that AT&T and Sprint wireless customers had their service disrupted when the cable was damaged.

jim@pagosasun.com