Verizon restores phone service for most

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, December 30, 2009

WINDSOR—A week after a fire cut Verizon landline telephone service and high-speed Internet to areas around Windsor, telephone service has been restored to most customers, a company spokesman said Monday afternoon.

“We actually started to restore service in Windsor overnight Christmas Eve into Christmas Day,” said Verizon spokesman Harry Mitchell. The process continued into the weekend, and only about 100 out of the 1,600 customers in the area were without landline telephone service by Tuesday morning, including International Paper’s Franklin mill.

The company hoped to restore all landline telephone and high-speed Internet service by Tuesday night, Mitchell said.

Many Verizon customers in the Windsor area have been without service since the Dec. 22 fire that damaged the company’s switching station on Church Street. The fire was started after a Dominion Virginia Power cable fell on to a copper communications cable near the switching station, according to Verizon officials. The fire initially interrupted telephone service in a large area from Wakefield to Suffolk, but the bulk of the customers outside of southern Isle of Wight had their service restored before Christmas Eve.

Rusty Chase, Isle of Wight County’s director of emergency services, said the landline telephone outage hasn’t caused any major problems for the county’s emergency services.

“I have not received any inquiries or complaints of delayed response,” he said Tuesday morning. “We were very fortunate.”

Chase said quick dissemination of information about the situation through the IW Alert system, which sends emergency alerts and notifications via e-mail and text messages to subscribers; the county’s twitter page and the local news media kept citizens informed.

Despite being without telephone and Internet service for days, Mitchell said the spirit and support of Windsor residents and the police department during the restoration process “has been gratifying.” He said residents even showed up to give Verizon employees coffee as they worked to restore service.

“That speaks well for the people in that part of Virginia,” he said.