Southeast telecom services being restored after earthquake outage

Pat Forgey

JUNEAU -- Late Friday night, Alaska Communications cellphones in Juneau began blinking to life as recovery from an earthquake outage began for the company's telecommunications services throughout Southeast Alaska. 

The 5.9-magnitude temblor severed an undersea cable that connects Alaska to the Lower 48. In Juneau and around Southeast, Alaska Communications and companies using its services count on the cable to provide wireless, Internet and phone service, all of which were down Friday. 

"We expect most services will be restored over the weekend," said Alaska Communications spokesperson Heather Cavanaugh.

Saturday morning, Prince of Wales Island resident Johnny Rice reported on Facebook that his DSL service had begun working just before 9 a.m. He gets service from Alaska Power and Telephone, a regional  provider that gets Internet service from Alaska Communications.

The earthquake was centered about 100 miles west of Juneau but the exact location of the break is not certain, said Hannah Blankenship, another Alaska Communications spokesperson.

The company is being assisted by other providers with data cables to Juneau, she said.

"It's common practice in the industry for carriers to carry other carriers in times of natural disaster," Blankenship said.