Nine East Texas counties recover from phone outage

Nine East Texas counties recover from phone outage
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE
Source: KTRE

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) - Nine counties in Deep East Texas experienced a massive phone service outage Friday, that shut down a majority of the 911 call centers overnight.

The systems were back up Saturday morning after the phone company, AT&T located the problem, outside of Corrigan. A major phone cable, an OC 192 cable, had been cut.

According to Van Bush, the Director of the Regional 911 Network, 12 other call centers, located within the nine counties, were affected by the outage.

"It's a situation we have not experienced in my 18 years of doing this," said Bush. "It's a very rare occurrence, this particular type of cut and the impact. It impacted not only bringing 911 calls in here, it impacted ATM machines, it isolated central offices, some wireless carriers, anything that was riding this OC 192."

LPD quickly routed their calls to Cherokee County, but land line service remained down, cutting off the only line of communication for some, like Jan Selman.

"Called to check on my parents because they're home alone and my sister lives next door," said Selman. "And, i couldn't get a hold of them, the lines was down. Kinda scared me and i couldn't get over there."

Bush said that a complete phone line outage is a rare event.

"An OC 192 has a fiber ring meaning, if it gets cut here, it turns and goes the other direction," said Bush. "In this particular instance, the fiber ring failed, as well."

AT&T worked on the major cable into the dark hours of the night, a fact that was witnessed by Jerry Ivy.

"There were contract trucks on the right side of the road, working on a line, last night, about eleven o'clock too," said Ivy.

Everything might be up and running, but Bush said he feels like his work is far from over.

"I can't tell you it won't ever happen again because i didn't think this would happen in the first place," said Bush. "This is not the kind of outage that we plan for. We plan for a local, isolated outage, but, when it comes to getting the calls switched out of the switching center in Houston, we don't have much control of it."

Bush assured the 15 counties he covered, that Monday will be spent making plans to lessen the blow of a future outage of this size.