SHEPHERDSTOWN — Frontier has put its rodent attack behind it, said the company’s Eastern Panhandle General Manager Paul Espinosa.
Telephone and data circuits ground to a halt last week after the company suffered damage to its fiber optic network in two separate locations in the county, presumably the work of a squirrel and a groundhog, according to technicians’ reports, Espinosa said.
The first incident came Tuesday when the company experienced problems with its backup, or redundant network path in an overhead facility near Bakerton. Frontier had already installed new fiber to replace fiber lines damaged there when technicians discovered on Wednesday — following a report of service disruption —that an underground fiber facility near Bardane had also been damaged.
Telltale teeth marks led technicians to conclude the damage in both locations had been caused by animals.
“Based on the inspection of the cable it looked like, in the aerial … it was probably a squirrel because you could actually see chew marks on the fiber. When we looked in the Bardane area what we believe happened is that … a motor vehicle accident dislodged a hand-hole cover that allowed access to the fiber optic cabling that was located in that hand hole.
While residential and business customers were affected by the damage, service interruptions to emergency services were minimized thanks to backup lines installed at the 911 operations center, Espinosa said.
“While we certainly recognize it was a significant impact to our customers in the area and other folks that rely on our services, we were pleased that we were able to minimize the impact on emergency services, which understandably is our top priority in situations such as that,” he said.