ELKHART — Frontier Communications is working “24/7” to repair a phone service outage in Elkhart that, according to one customer, began a week ago.
A company spokesperson estimates between 700 and 800 customers lost service on Monday, April 21, when an unidentified construction crew severed two cable lines and damaged 6,600 wires.
All of those need to be individually spliced by hand said Dana Berkes, public relations manager for Frontier's central region.
Crews were seen working Monday, April 28, in several sections of an alley that runs parallel to Park Avenue just east of Benham Avenue.
Making it more difficult, she said, is that the damage occurred inside a manhole.
“When you have to do stuff in a manhole, it’s harder,” Berkes said.
Service is being restored in stages and Berkes said that not all customers would have it restored until sometime this week.
She said she was unsure how many customers have had service restored as of Monday.
Crews are working in shifts.
“They’ll work 24/7 until it’s fixed,” Berkes said.
She said Frontier was able to provide partial service to businesses that have a certain level of service.
Richard Mullins, who lives on the south side of Elkhart, is one of the residential customers affected. He contends he was told three different times that the outage affects upward of 4,000 customers.
Berkes disputed that figure provided by Mullins and questioned where that information could have come from.
Mullins said the outage has been a significant inconvenience, mostly because he depends on the phone line to keep in touch with an elderly family member.
He said he resorted to borrowing a cell phone.
"I’ve had a phone with them for 30 some years and I’ve never had anything like this. Maybe a storm, but even then it would only be a couple days,” Mullins said.
Berkes pointed out that April is National Safe Digging Month and she urged anyone needing to dig in the ground to call 811 to have underground lines marked before beginning a project.