Internet outage hits North Olympic Peninsula and beyond

By Arwyn Rice
Peninsula Daily News

A major Internet outage affected residents and businesses from Forks to Port Townsend, as well as others at least throughout the Olympic Peninsula.

Both CenturyLink and Wave Broadband customers were affected. It was unknown as of late Wednesday afternoon how many lost service.

Customers were reporting scattered Internet outages throughout Washington state, Oregon and California on www.downdetector.com.

Internet outages on the North Olympic Peninsula first affected CenturyLink customers in Forks at about 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

At about 1 p.m., Wave Broadband customers — including those in Port Angeles, Sequim and Port Townsend — lost telephone and television services.

It was not known late Wednesday if the CenturyLink and Wave Broadband outages were related.

CenturyLink representatives did not return calls Wednesday.

The Wave Broadband outage was caused by a large boat towed by a truck that cut through a major fiber-optic cable at about 1 p.m. in Bremerton, said Mark Peterson, spokesman for the company.

At 4 p.m., it was still unknown exactly when Internet service was expected to be restored.

“It is our objective to have Internet restored within the next few hours,” Peterson said.

Customers were being switched to redundant systems as they became available, he said.

Wave Broadband's first priority was to restore service to Olympic Peninsula communities.

Officials were unsure of the extent of the outage, Peterson said.

“We're still assessing that,” he said.

Customers flooded the Wave Broadband office after 1 p.m. and reported that their businesses could not process credit cards and their telephones were not working.

“You need it if you are running a business,” said Anthony Steele, who runs a wedding invitation business from his home in Port Angeles.

Customer service representatives told customers that the Internet failure was a major regional outage, and they were uncertain how many people were affected.

People using Voice over Internet Protocol may not be able to reach emergency dispatchers, said Debbie Homan, communications supervisor at Clallam County's PenCom, at about 5 p.m. Wednesday.

“We're getting cellphone 9-1-1s. We're getting landline 9-1-1s. Those appear to be working at this point,” she said.

“Our main concern is VoIP customers.”

At about 3:45 p.m., JeffCom operators in Jefferson County reported that at least one person attempted to call 9-1-1 for help but was unable to get through due to the phone outage.

The outage caused slight effects at Olympic Medical Center but nothing that affected patient care, said Bobby Beeman, spokeswoman for the hospital.

“The effects of the outage have been nominal. We continue to have Internet access and email, and the few areas that may be affected have backup procedures in place,” Beeman said.

Kate Burke, marketing director at Jefferson Healthcare, said the facility had no Internet problems.

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Reporter Arwyn Rice can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5070, or at arwyn.rice@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: September 03. 2014 7:13PM
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