Phone and data service should be back to normal today

Can you hear me now? Broken fiber optic cable blamed for cutting service to hundreds of customers around the desert area

BANNING, Calif. - Coachella Valley and high desert phones should be ringing again Thursday after an outage that cut landline and cellphone service to customers from Twentynine Palms to Palm Desert.

Wednesday's outage began shortly before noon leaving many AT&T and Verizon customers without the ability to receive or place phone calls.

The outage also cut data service to other customers.

City government offices were impacted by the outage including Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs and Indio City Hall.  

The Eisenhower Medical Center campus was also impacted in Rancho Mirage.

A spokesperson said cell phone to cell phone calls were working Wednesday afternoon, but landlines were not.  

According to Telepacific, the outage was traced to a high capacity fiber optic cable which was cut in the Banning area.  

The cable is supplied by Southern California Edison, and crews reportedly had a hard time finding the break's location because of high winds and dangerous conditions.  

The break in the line was finally found Wednesday evening, and repairs were begun.

A Telepacific spokesman said the company had received more than 300 reports of phone and or data services down Wednesday. 

Splicing to repair the cut was 25 percent complete as of 10 p.m. Wednesday and circuits were being restored. 

Telepacific said it was very sorry this impacted its customers, but a full service recovery was expected between 1 a.m and 3 a.m. Thursday morning.  

Customers were expected to be back up and running for the beginning of the business day. 

The phone and date outage came on a day Southern California Edison said 10,500 of its customers in Riverside County were without power due to high winds battering the region.

The Federal Aviation Administration also reported a computer problem at Los Angeles International Airport which stopped all takeoffs and kept planes on the ground at several Southern California airports for an hour and a half.

There was no word whether the cut data cable in Banning could have been related to the airport ground stops.

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