UPDATE: Frontier repair crews working to restore copper services

On day seven of the outage that hit last Saturday morning, Frontier Communications repair crews continue to work around the clock to restore copper services to its customers.

On day seven of the outage that hit last Saturday morning, Frontier Communications repair crews continue to work around the clock to restore copper services to its customers.

As of 5 p.m. today, Frontier posted on its website that its crews were working to have copper voice and data restored in the next 64 hours for more than 1,200 Redmond customers affected by the outage. An IMCO General Construction crew cut through fiber and copper cables and disrupted phone, television, hi-speed Internet and some 911 services. (For updates, visit http://outage.frontier.com/Redmond-2014-09-20.)

Frontier’s West Region Vice President of Engineering Brian Peterson and General Manager Bret Larsen surveyed the repair scene at the corner of Bear Creek Parkway and Redmond Way on Friday afternoon.

“Progress is being made. All of our fiber has been restored and we continue to splice up our copper. We’ve put out a schedule on the website, and I think we’re keeping up with that schedule now,” said Peterson of crews restoring the nine cables. “We’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’ll be working 24 hours a day through the weekend. It’s going to take us some time, but we’re going to get it done.”

Rain has caused complications in restoring Redmond’s radio dispatch, but Redmond’s 911 is operating at full capacity. Four satellite dishes along with radio antennas were installed Thursday afternoon to increase the downtown coverage.

It was a turn-back-the-clock scenario for Ben Franklin Crafts and Frames owner Neil Ferguson and his 70 employees when the outage hit on Saturday.

From Saturday until Tuesday evening, they used an old-style manual credit-card slide machine before contacting AT&T and getting a mobile hot spot to run their computers and credit-card processing.

“That was a savior,” said Ferguson, who added that they were closed for a couple of hours on Saturday to make adjustments.

The outage wiped out their phones, registers, email and more, but they made do and kept the business going in Redmond Center on Redmond Way near the accident. All those features are still down as they wait for their copper services to be restored. Ferguson’s business site isn’t FiOS-accessible, he said, so he can’t take advantage of Frontier’s free copper-to-FiOS switchover to get up and running properly.

In the meantime, Ferguson has directed Ben Franklin’s business line to a private cell phone and they now process their orders through their warehouse on Willows Road, which wasn’t affected by the outage.

“Business has been coming back slowly this week, every day it’s getting a little stronger. But the Redmond Way part is still slowing some people from coming into Redmond,” Ferguson said.

Through this unfortunate situation, however, Ferguson said he met other business owners at Wednesday’s Frontier community meeting and they bounced ideas off each other on how to deal with the outage.

And Ferguson met at least one new friend along the way.

“I met the guy that owns the Fatburger. I’ve been in the same town as him for a long time. He’s been here for 15 years and I’ve never met him, so it’s nice to put a face with a name,” he said.

To help customers impacted by this outage, public access Wi-Fi is set up from 161st Avenue Northeast to 166th Avenue Northeast from Redmond Way to Cleveland Street. Frontier’s team is also working to expand the Wi-Fi network range to accommodate more customers impacted by this outage.

Customers can connect to the Wi-Fi network by searching and selecting Frontier’s network from their Wi-Fi-enabled device. There is no password or authentication required.

For questions regarding this outage, contact a local Frontier Customer Service representative at RedmondCareTeam@ftr.com or by calling (800) 922-1492.

“This has been demoralizing for our small businesses in downtown Redmond,” said Redmond Mayor John Marchione. “The severed line prevents businesses and ATMs from effective debit and credit card transactions. The disruption is particularly devastating for companies that rely on phone service to conduct business.” The city is working with all parties to establish a claims process.

Customers affected by the outage don’t need to call Frontier to receive out-of-service credits. Frontier’s credit process will be automatic and they will be applying credits based on service level and number of days without service. These credits will be applied within 30 days of the end of the outage event. Customers will see the credit on the subsequent bill and Frontier has already mailed letters to affected customers informing them of the restoration and credit process.

Pictured is the duct system that IMCO General Construction dug up on Sept. 20. The new cables are now coming out of the ducts, which allows Frontier Communications to restore service. Andy Nystrom photo/ Redmond Reporter