Uninformed excavation to blame for phone and internet outage

By Richard Holton on July 7 at 3:15pm

If you lost phone or internet service Sunday, July 6th, uninformed digging is to blame.

Steve Saylor, General Manager of Frontier in West Central Illinois, says that a contractor working near the Jacksonville State Prison accidentally cut the fiber-optic cables responsible for connecting Jacksonville to the larger network. Both Frontier and AT&T use the same cables in that area.

Frontier estimates 10-thousand homes were without phone or internet service through Frontier. AT&T officials could not be reached for comment. Frontier reports the cable was fixed and service was restored around 8:00 p-m Sunday.

“The damage was a result of an excavator who was digging on a JULIE that was out of date. When people are digging they always need to be conscious that they need to call JULIE before they put a shovel, spade, or anything in the ground to help prevent some of these outages.”

Joint Utility Locating Information for Excavators, or JULIE is a free service providing free information about underground utilities to excavators and homeowners. State law requires that any digging project call JULIE and have the underground utility lines marked so this kind of outage doesn’t happen.

JULIE exists because of the Illinois Underground Utility Facilities Damage Prevention Act, which makes it a fine-able offense to dig without using JULIE’s free service. Depending on how big the digging violation, fines up to $5-thousand may be imposed.