Service expected to be restored in three hours
CHARLES TOWN — Rodents chewing into two fiber optic cable facilities is being blamed for a disruption in service to customers of Frontier Communications throughout Jefferson County Thursday.
According to Frontier general manager Paul Espinosa, service is expected to be restored in about three hours as crews work to repair two separate fiber facilities — one in Bakerton and another in Kearneysville — damaged by animals.
Espinosa said repair crews are still working to discover the location of the damage at the Bakerton facility, damaged after a squirrel is believed to have chewed through either an underground or aerial facility.
In Kearneysville, a groundhog is being blamed for getting into an enclosure containing fiber cables that had previously been damaged in an automobile accident, allowing the animal access to it.
“It’s really a freak type of situation,” Espinosa said. “It’s a little-known fact that rodents do seem to like cable. We try to secure these them as best as we can, but you’re never completely rodent resistant and there are an abundance of squirrels and ground hogs in this area.”
Espinosa said the fact that animals damaged cable in two separate locations in the county overwhelmed the system’s own redundancy, which would have allowed for traffic to be re-routed in the event of a localized disruption.
“It’s pretty unusual,” he said.
He said reception remains spotty and that the damage has primarily affected the company’s long distance service and data circuits.
Jefferson County’s emergency dispatch center was briefly affected by the disruption also. Espinsoa said traffic has been routed to Berkeley County’s 911 center in Martinsburg.
Espinosa said the company did not yet have an estimate about how many customers have been affected, but there are reports of sweeping service disruptions throughout Jefferson County.