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Schatz Calls On Spectrum, Other Firms To Explain Kauai Outage

Marco Garcia/AP
FILE -- U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, speaks to an election night crowd at a local ballroom, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2018, in Honolulu.

Hawaii Sen. Brian Schatz accused companies related to Kauai's recent islandwide Internet, cable and phone outage of failing to give residents timely information on the communications disruption and when service might be restored.

Schatz said the outage illustrated Hawaii's vulnerability to telecommunications outages given the limited number of undersea cables that provide support to the islands.

"Companies serving Hawai'i must account for these challenges and ensure that the infrastructure they count upon to deliver service is reliable," Schatz said in letters to the service providers. 

"I am particularly concerned that the outage appears to have contributed to interruptions of 911 services, which could have had potentially serious consequences," the senator added.

The letter was sent to Spectrum, Verizon and CenturyLink, co-owner with Hawaiian Telcom, of the fiber-optic cable link that was the source of the outage, according to media reports.

The senator asked for a detailed account of what happened, why residents were not quickly informed about the outage and the reasons for the extended outage.

Residents and businesses were without service for as long as two days, preventing phone calls, credit card processing, TV watching, Internet streaming and other services.

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

Correction: An earlier version of this story did not make clear which firms were responsible for the disrupted communications on Kauai, including ownership of the fiber-optics cable said to have been the source of the problem.

Hawaii Sen, Brian Schatz Letters

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