Downtown loses cable services

Mary Katherine Murphy Staff reporter

August 27, 2013

A telecommunications outage affected many in Scotland County served by Time Warner Cable after a tractor trailer damaged fiber optic cable on Monday afternoon.

Around 2 p.m. on Monday, the tractor trailer turned right onto Fairley Street from Atkinson Street to make a delivery to the downtown store I.C. Beauty World. In the process of turning, the right side of the trailer snagged fiber optic cable strung on electrical posts over Fairley Street, pulling it down into the street.

City electrical personnel as well as Laurinburg police and firemen arrived on the scene shortly after the incident to assess the damage and possible dangers posed by the downed wire. When the damage was identified as affecting Time Warner, the cable company shortly sent a construction crew to begin repairs.

The incident resulted in a loss of telephone and Internet connection as well as cable television to Time Warner customers for the remainder of the afternoon as the crew worked for more than five hours to replace the downed cable.

“This affects all the way up to Wagram really, that’s why we’re trying to get it done because we’ve got a lot of people off right now,” said William Adams, a Time Warner representative overseeing the repairs. “I’m glad he did it early because that way we’ve got daylight and it won’t take us as long.”

The company sent two enclosed trailers to facilitate the repairs.

“With fiber it’s got to be in a closed environment to splice it back together,” Adams said. “It can’t be out in the weather.”

The outage affected homes and businesses near the site of the downed cable, throughout north Laurinburg, and into Wagram, including several businesses. Jim Willis, owner of ShirtTales on Main Street, said that the experience was “extremely frustrating.”

“I’ve converted my phone service to an Internet-based system and my credit card processing, so I left work early because I had no Internet, I couldn’t look anything up, I had no email, I had no phone service, and I had to turn customers away because I couldn’t process credit card transactions,” he said. “It was terrible.”

Willis said that he was forced to close early as the outage made it impossible for him to conduct his business without any means of communicating with the outside world.

“As sophisticated as it all is it can still be wrecked and it can shut us down,” said Willis. “My IT guy told me he had five other folks say they were having the same issues.”

Late Monday afternoon, Adams estimated that the repairs would be completed and service restored around 7:30 p.m.