Cell phone and Internet service came back online for Taos-area residents Thursday afternoon (Sept. 19) at around 5 p.m. after a fiber optic cable was severed near Cimarron earlier that morning.
CenturyLink spokesman David Gonzáles said in an email Thursday that a third-party construction company damaged the cable about 6 miles west of Cimarron along NM 64. The outage began at around 9 a.m.
Gonzáles said Internet, data, some long distance land-line and cell phone services for the areas of Taos, Angel Fire, Red River, Questa and Penasco were impacted. Gonzáles said 911 services were rerouted and were functioning properly.
The number of customers affected was not immediately available. Gonzáles said the cable had been spliced and that all services should be restored by 5:45 p.m.
The outage Thursday morning marks the third time in less than two years that residents have lost cell and Internet service. The previous two outages were both related to breaks in the same fiber optic cable that runs east from Taos through the Moreno Valley where it connects with a major line near I-25. The line is owned by CenturyLink, but is used by several Internet and cell phone providers to carry data.
CenturyLink and Kit Carson Telecom Internet customers rely on the cable for service. TaosNet runs DSL customers over the line as well, but the company's fixed wireless customers and dial-up traffic are rerouted through a backup connecting that goes north into Colorado and continue to have service.
The first outage, in March 2012, was blamed on a bullet that cut an overhead line. The second outage, last June, was caused by a beaver chewing through an underground line., CenturyLink officials said.
All three outages have been repaired in less than 24 hours.
For more on this story, see the Sept. 26 edition of The Taos News.