05 30 2015

Phone, Internet Service Outage Cripples Portions Of Van Zandt County

By Julie Vaughan
Portions of Canton and Wills Point were without landline and wireless telephone service, along with Internet service for more than eight hours Tuesday.
The problem was that AT&T and Verizon lines had been cut somewhere between Wills Point and Mesquite, according to reports from the Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office, causing all circuits to go down.
Wireless callers had no signal and landline callers could not make calls outside the city.
This happened right at 5 p.m. Tuesday and lines were down until about 1 a.m. Wednesday.
Van Zandt County Sheriff’s Office Captain Kevin Bridger said because of this, 9-1-1 services were affected and calls had to be rerouted to the Department of Public Safety (DPS) dispatch office in Tyler.
“DPS Tyler switched over and they would then call us out when calls came in for us,” Bridger explained.
Also, Bridger said that patrol units are equipped with laptops that have an Omnixx program, which is used by offices to perform their daily duties wirelessly.
Bridger said fortunately, the Omnixx was still up and officers were still able to communicate.
Additionally, dispatch could still dispatch officers through regular communications towers in the central dispatch office at the sheriff’s office.
Verizon representatives in the corporate office located in California were not able to comment on the situation and after speaking with a representative in Fios Repair, they were unaware of the situation Wednesday morning.
“We have had no notification of outages (in Texas),” the representative said. “Apparently it wasn’t a big affect.”
“Due to a third-party fiber cut late yesterday, some customers in Canton and the surrounding area experienced a disruption in service,” AT&T Senior Public Relations Manager for North Texas Diane Brandon said, in a written statement Wednesday afternoon. “Technicians quickly worked to repair the damage and service was fully restored early this morning. We apologize for this inconvenience to our customers.”
At press time, the Verizon media relations office in Dallas had not returned calls or e-mails from the Chronicle.
“We still had everything under control and we had no major incidents,” Bridger said. “All calls were answered in a timely manner with no problems. Fortunately, our operations wasn’t affected.”
Bridger was scheduled to be on conference call with Verizon and AT&T representative’s sometime Wednesday in hopes of getting answers to this unfortunate incident.

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