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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