By ERIN MILLER
Stephens Media Hawaii
West Hawaii residents from Pahala to Waikoloa spent nearly 20 hours without phone and Internet service, after a tree damaged a Hawaiian Telcom fiber optic cable near Waikoloa.
Officials with the telecommunications company said they had service restored by about 11 a.m. Monday. Service cut out for many customers, including everyone in the Ka‘u District, around 5 p.m. Sunday. Hawaii County Civil Defense Administrator Darryl Oliveira said his office was in contact with Hawaiian Telcom until about 1 a.m. Monday, and then again after daybreak, getting updates on the situation, which left many customers unable to use their landline telephones and cellphones.
Because of the severe outage in Ka‘u, Fire Department officials called on volunteers to take to the roads and be available if someone needed help, but couldn’t call for it, Oliveira said. Police Department officials Sunday evening and Monday morning were encouraging residents in need of assistance to drive to the nearest police station for help if their phones weren’t working.
The Police Department also stationed an officer at every Ka‘u school Monday morning, so the schools could reach out to emergency services via radio in case a student was injured or became ill, Oliveira said.
Businesses were also impacted by the outage, with some stores unable to run credit cards.
He wasn’t aware of any major incidents occurring during the outage.
The fiber optic cable that broke was located about 1.5 miles makai of Highway 190, Oliveira said.
The location was so remote, and the road leading to it had been partially washed out, leaving repair workers unable to drive all the way in to make the fix, Hawaiian Telcom spokeswoman Su Shin added. Workers had to hike the last half mile carrying their repair equipment.
Customers began seeing service restored around 8 a.m., she added.
Customers who continue to experience service disruptions should contact Hawaiian Telcom’s 24-Hour Service Center at 611 or 643-6111.
Email Erin Miller at firstname.lastname@example.org.