MERRILL, WI - Much of north central Wisconsin had to do things the old fashioned way Thursday when their modern technology tools became worthless.
A crew from Wisconsin Public Service was digging along DeJinski Road north of Merrill when they struck a fiber optic communications line owned by Frontier Communications.
Karen Miller from Frontier says that severed fiber cable affected communications and Internet services for thousands of customers. "Probably around 8,000 customers impacted on the north side of Merrill, also Eagle River, Tomahawk, Minoqua, Lac du Flambeau, and Rhinelander. The services impacted were basic telephone service, phone service, high speed internet, voicemail, and data circuits.”
The outage happened around midday. Frontier had two emergency repair crews repairing the fibers, and had everyone restored by about 9:00 p.m.
Miller says they worked as fast as possible to restore service. "We appologize to our customers for the inconvenience. We understand how important it is to have their phones working, and their high-speed (Internet) especially."
The outage affected homes, businesses, and even the data lines used by the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department Dispatch Center in Rhinelander. Lincoln County’s dispatch center in Merrill was unaffected.