Long-Distance Phone, Internet Service Restored After Outage

By: Marie Luby Email
By: Marie Luby Email

A cut fiber line creates a major inconvenience for thousands of phone and internet users.

The problem came from a failed attempt to steal copper. The outage affected thousands of Windstream customers in Perry County. We found out why backed up e-mail is the least is the of their worries.

Windstream officials say a would-be copper thief cut the wrong cable on Highway 421 along the Leslie-Clay County line instead cutting off thousands in Perry County from internet and long-distance phone services. It took Windstream officials all night to find the spot, and all morning to splice the fiber back together.

"The price of copper is pretty high and they can get a lot for it, and as the weather gets nicer, we're seeing more of it this time of year," said Windstream Spokesperson Erin Ascione.

Widespread copper thefts cost Windstream $700,000 dollars, just in the last two years.

"More important than that is our customers, when this happens, are left without a lifeline, without a way to get a hold of emergency services," Ascione said.

"Seconds and minutes sometimes could mean life or death," said Tony Watts with the Kentucky State Police.

It hasn't happened yet, but police say if someone dies because they can't dial 911, attempted copper thieves could face more serious charges than they realize.

"If a grand jury sees fit, exactly, you've got murder, you've got manslaughter, you've got reckless homicide, you've got a number of things that may cross a grand jury's mind when you present that investigation," Watts said.

Officials want to find out who's responsible for this crime, and let them know how many lives they put at risk.

If you have any information about the attempted copper theft, you should call police.

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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by JS1 Location: Winchester on May 1, 2008 at 04:33 PM
    Gainful employment? You have to be able to pass a drug test to get a job at most places, so thats out. That is why people are stealing this stuff in the first place, for their pills and whatnot. I am glad to hear that noone needed medical assistance during the down time, there has to be someone who knows who did this and is willing to do the right thing and come forward! I have family in Perry County and let me just tell you this, if something where to happen to them and they couldn't get help, I would go off and find the person responsible and personaly see that they were punished!
  • by Sue Location: Harlan County on May 1, 2008 at 12:54 PM
    These people need to find a real job and work for their money at gainful employment instead of stealing from people who are working for their living. It takes a sorry person who will cut the line to a public utility with no consideration of other people's needs to take something that doesn't belong to them. People like that need to be put on chain gangs so they are forced to earn their keep. If they refuse to work then they aren't given the privilege of eating!
  • by dameon Location: leslie co on May 1, 2008 at 12:10 PM
    Just another druggie on an ATV.
  • by Andrea Location: Leslie County on May 1, 2008 at 11:07 AM
    Copper theifs are some of the most inconsiderate people in the world!! What if some need to dial 911 for help?? The amount of money people would make for this copper is not worth someones life! FIND ANOTHER WAY TO MAKE MONEY!!!!!!


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