Schatz demands outage answers

WASHINGTON — Hawaii U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz on Friday called on telecom companies to provide answers on the islandwide phone, internet and cable TV outage that occurred last week on Kauai.

“Hawaii is uniquely vulnerable to service disruptions due to the limited number of undersea cables supporting telecommunications for the islands,” he wrote. “Companies serving Hawaii must account for these challenges and ensure that the infrastructure they count upon to deliver service is reliable.”

According to reports, the outage lasted for at least a day for many residents. Many in the community voiced complaints about Spectrum’s response and their failure to provide quick, relevant information to residents about the outage and, more importantly, information on when services were expected to be restored.

Schatz is the lead Democrat on the Senate Subcommittee on Communications, Technology, Innovation, and the Internet.

In his letter to service providers Spectrum, Verizon and CenturyLink, a co-owner of the fiber-optic cable line that reportedly caused the outage, Schatz requested a detailed account of what occurred, why information was not immediately communicated to residents, and why it took a prolonged period of time to restore service.

“The outages on Kauai are a good example of how failed infrastructure that has not been made redundant can disrupt the lives and businesses of Hawaii residents. I am particularly concerned that the outage appears to have contributed to interruptions of 911 services, which could have had potentially serious consequences,” he wrote.

  1. Kauailiving November 9, 2019 6:10 am Reply

    Thank you for looking out for us, Senator Schatz. You are appreciated.

  2. Infrastructure November 9, 2019 7:10 am Reply

    Out of state telecommunications providers are all too happy to buy up Haw Tel and Time Warner, but invest in aging infrastructure? Not so far. You can expect more Spectrum and cell provider outages in the future, as two of the three fiber optic cables connecting Kauai to Oahu were put in service in 1997. Industry experts peg the serviceable life of an undersea cable at 25 years, so its easy to do the math. Spectrum apparently feels no need to maintain service, and they certainly are not required to do so by any law, state or federal. At least HawTel ( now owned by Cincinnati Bell) is/was considered “utility” grade provider. Why in the world would the state government allow this buyout without any provisos? Even HawTel does not invest in infrastructure improvement, just break/fix. If HawTel provided internet service outside of the Lihue corridor, there would be more than a few takers. Unfortunately, Agit Pai and his band of merry reeses pieces cup wielding jokers at the FCC feel that Hawaiian residents have enough internet provider competition. In the meantime, better get a satellite phone, and expect that there will be more outages where, on Kauai, we will not only lose Spectrum, but several if not all of the cell providers as well. Who Ya Gonna Call….??

  3. Chill November 9, 2019 12:58 pm Reply

    Some people need to chill. Whatever happened happened, and all you can really do is move on and learn from it. Some things you just can’t predict. Some things you just can’t prepare for. After hearing about the break under water, many of us were under the impression that we would be ‘disconnected’ for days, or maybe even weeks to months. And you know what? It was up again in 24 hours. And for that I’m grateful.

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