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Disruption of Frontier Communications internet service apparently caused by copper thieves

July 10, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The disruption of Internet service for thousands of Frontier Communications customers in the Eastern Panhandle was apparently caused by copper thieves, according to a company spokesman.

“They thought it was copper and found that it wasn’t,” Frontier spokesman Dan Page said, minutes after service began to be restored Wednesday afternoon to about 20,000 customers in Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan and Hampshire counties.

The fiber optic cable cut occurred about 16 miles from Martinsburg in a remote area, Page said.

The company was alerted of the cut at 3:40 a.m., and technicians made repairs to begin rerouting of Internet traffic at 2:27 p.m., Page said.

The disruption not only affected residential customers, but also had an impact on businesses, including Gold’s Gym in Martinsburg, where members were asked to sign in, rather than scan their membership card.

Signs posted at the Daily Grind in Martinsburg advised customers that the cafe’s Wi-Fi network was not available due to the outage.

The cut in the line also disabled Shepherd University’s voice-mail system, as well as Wi-Fi coverage in multiple campus buildings and outdoor campus areas.

The fiber-optic cable cut comes about 30 days after Frontier experienced another severed line that also affected a number of Eastern Panhandle customers, but did not cause as many outages, Page said. 

Page said Frontier has been similarly targeted by copper thieves in the past.

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