Railroad takes Alaska Internet offline

A fiber-optic cable cut north of Talkeetna blocked residents from Internet access across the interior and Southcentral Alaska on Thursday, Sept. 6.

A technical support representative for Alaska Communications Systems, Sean Powers, said he was notified that a fiber-optic cable owned by ACS had been cut, severing Internet connections from Fairbanks to Anchorage.

“I know it’s our cable,” he said. “It was an accident.”

ACS is a statewide wireless telecommunications service provider contracted to provide Internet access to the University of Alaska in Anchorage, Juneau and Fairbanks.

The fiber-optic cable runs along the Alaska Railroad tracks from Fairbanks to Whittier and undersea to Nedonna Beach, Oregon, according to a university report.

Mary Gasperlin, ACS spokeswoman, said the cable was cut by the railroad around 1:30 p.m.

“The railroad cut it again,” she said.

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The same fiber-optic cable running alongside the railroad was cut Oct. 16, 2006, according to UA network operations’ reports.

A crew took a train to the site where the damage occurred and began splicing the cable for repairs, she said. Connections were restored later that evening.

The number of people and areas effected by the outage are unknown, Gasperlin said.

Contact Hannah Roerick at 786-1576 or [email protected]