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Update: Crews working to repair three severed fiber optic line in Taos

May 26, 2023

Updated June 6 at 8:40 p.m.

In an update Tuesday evening, Kit Carson Electric CEO Luis Reyes said crews are working to repair not one, but three Lumen Technologies fiber optic cables that were severed on Monday by a contractor that was placing electrical wiring for street lighting.

The contractor was using a boring machine when workers sliced through the three lines in front of Big 5 on June 5 on Paseo del Pueblo Sur, causing cell phone and internet service disruptions throughout Taos County. As of Tuesday evening. One of the three lines had been repaired, and Reyes said crews are hoping to have the other two repaired by 8 a.m. Wednesday morning.

The outage is affecting Verizon Wireless and Century Link customers, as well as service for local radio stations. Taos Net, which was also impacted, restored a connection Tuesday around 5 p.m. with help from Kit Carson Electric, but its connection remained slow; the local internet provider urged users not to stream video until a faster connection is established. Reports also indicate that Xfinity services are also down as a result of the infrastructure loss.

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported on Tuesday that the outage is also impacting customers in Santa Fe County, including the city of Santa Fe and Santa Fe County websites, among others. Kit Carson Electric's services — including its internet service, which has redundant network paths built in — have not been impacted.

"It was pretty quiet last night" without cell phone service, observed District 3 Taos County Commissioner Darlene Vigil, who addressed the outage during the commission's regular meeting Tuesday morning (June 6). "Usually my family's blowing me up."

A spokesperson for the New Mexico Department of Health advised that Taos County Public Health Office phones are down, but said services are still available in person during the outage.

In an update Monday evening, Reyes said crews with the telecommunications company would be working throughout the night to repair the severed cable. As of mid-morning Tuesday, they were still working on a fix, and Reyes added there was no estimated time when the repair would be completed.

"Splicers have confirmed that 3 separate fibers are damaged, a 32,72, and 96-count cable," Reyes told the Taos News in an email. "Contractors are working to blow tape through the pipe, as there are no spare ducts. If able to clear the pipe, the damaged fiber will be replaced. If unable to access the duct, the asphalt will have to be broken up.

"Traffic control is currently en route to assist with lane closure as traffic will need to be closed," he added. "An estimated arrival was not available. The next update will be provided once available, or upon arrival."

District 5 Commissioner Ronald Mascareñas, who for decades worked in communications and internet technologies, said that fiber line replacement is time-consuming work.

"Hopefully it's within the next day or two," he said during Tuesday's commission meeting. "Without having an official estimate, we're probably a day to two days still, before" service is fully restored.

"They do have some redundant feeds going, but they're very small lines," Mascareñas added. "So every so often you'll get a text and you get a phone call; but your best bet is to use Wi-Fi, for those Wi-Fi providers that are still up."

This is a developing story.

It is absurd how often this happens in Taos. Not to mention the electricity outages. The economic impact on those of us who work from home is huge.

Just when we thought the construction work on Paseo couldn't get worse...

Why is it that whenever we have utility outages in Taos or Taos County,, there is never any up-to-date information? We are in the dark and constantly left in the dark. This is ridiculous and always has been. Are we that much of a third world County?

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