Monday woes: Bend crash cuts Internet, TV to thousands

Pole replaced, fiber spliced; outage prompts C.O. DMV offices to close

C.O. Net, TV, phone outage over

BEND, Ore. - An accident involving a dump truck near a northeast Bend intersection Monday morning damaged a fiber-optic data line, cutting Internet, TV and phone service for thousands across the region for up to 10 hours, making for big headaches at the workweek began and prompting closure of four DMV offices.

"This has impacted a lot of the community, a lot of the services -- we're not the only state agency that's down," said DMV Bend Manager Angela Miller. "I would say probably 90 percent of our services, we absolutely need to have the Internet to do."

Bend police said it involved a driver of a dump truck hauling a trailer loaded with an excavator. They said he was on Empire Avenue and the boom on the excavator snagged the overhead wires, snapping the utility pole on Nels Anderson Road. The driver apparently had misjudged the distance and was not cited, an officer said.

BendBroadband said the accident damaged a fiber optic line and knocked out all of its services in Redmond, Sisters, Terrebonne, Black Butte Ranch and Prineville. Customers in Bend with Internet-based phones also lost service, as did those in Sunriver, the company said.

A southwest Redmond resident reported cable TV back in service in the early afternoon, and BendBroadband reported "much progress" in restoring phone services by mid-afternoon. All services were reported restored by about 4:30 p.m., roughly 10 hours after the outage began.

Oregon DMV decided to close its four Central Oregon offices in Bend, Madras, Prineville and Redmond at noon due to the Internet outage. An earlier power outage in Bend due to the crash was quickly restored.

The agency said it hopes to reopen the offices Tuesday morning, and urged customers to check online for details, or to conduct some common transactions there.

The outage also affected numerous business and government customers, as well as other state agencies.  A commenter on KTVZ's Facebook page said state offices in Redmond were without computer services.

In Sisters, Five Pine Lodge was one of the many without phone service and had to resort to backup Internet.

"We went to social media -- Facebook and Twitter -- expressing the fact the phones were down," said Five Pines Lodge President Greg Willitts. "We will contact everyone  via e-mail that's supposed to check in today."

The outage also affected a couple of commercial circuits operated by Redmond-based Quantum Communications, though all of its residential and small business services were up and running, said Alex Bland, Quantum's network manager and senior engineer.

The pole was severed, and Pacific Power had to replace it before other repairs could be made, Bland noted.

"There's a lot of fiber hanging off that pole," he added.

BendBroadBand Associate Manager Cindy Tomlinson told NewsChannel 21 the company was uncertain how many customers were affected.

"We want to thank everyone for their understanding and patience," Tomlinson said.

She said the focus now will now shift to analyzing why one broken fiber line affected such a wide region of Central Oregon.

"Our technicians will continue to monitor the health of our network throughout the night and remain on standby should there be any further issues. If customers are having technical issues at this time, they should call our tech support team at 541-382-5551. They are available 24/7 and ready to assist," Tomlinson wrote in an email.

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