Fiber Optic Cuts Disrupt Southwestern Idaho Communications

by Yuri Nikolaenko

Southwestern Idaho Landlines, Internet Down Due to Fiber Cuts

Aug 27, 2023

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A sizable region of Southwestern Idaho suffered a major communications outage on August 24, 2023, according to a Facebook post by the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office. The post reported that multiple cuts to fiber optic cables have interrupted landline telephone and internet services across a large portion of the area.

The fiber optic damage was extensive enough to cause service problems spanning several counties in Southwestern Idaho. With many key communications transmitted via fiber optic networks, the cuts effectively severed important connectivity for numerous towns, businesses, and residents.

Fiber optic cable cut. Credit: Reddit

Technicians were working around the clock to locate and repair the damaged sections of fiber optic cable, but full restoration of service across the widespread area was expected to be a lengthy process. In the meantime, the incident left many communities and institutions struggling without reliable phone and internet access.

The impacts likely affected critical emergency services, various businesses and industries, schools and learning centers, government offices, and many more aspects of daily life across the region. The outage highlighted just how dependent modern society has become on fiber optic infrastructure for communication and information access.

Unlike wireless networks that can reroute around obstacles, localized fiber cuts can knock out service across large surrounding regions until physical repairs are made. While redundant routing and infrastructure meshing can help restore some partial connectivity, any significant physical damage to the actual fiber optic cables still results in major communication outages and disruptions for communities.

The Elmore County Sheriff’s Office noted that emergency phone lines in the county remain partially operational despite the fiber cuts. Critical communications infrastructure often has contingency plans, but the general public across the afflicted Idaho counties lost access to the internet, phones, 911 services, and more.

As homes, businesses, emergency services, and other facets of daily life become increasingly digital, outage resiliency is crucial. For remote areas, satellite internet may offer the most reliable option to stay connected through disasters or infrastructure failures. This recent Idaho incident serves as a reminder that even the most sophisticated land-based networks have limitations.

In contrast, satellite internet services like OneWeb rely on signals beamed from orbit, bypassing any disruption to cables and nodes on the ground. This wireless nature makes satellites far more resilient than fiber optic networks, providing reliable connectivity even in remote areas or during natural disasters and emergencies.

Fiber optic infrastructure is prone to accidental damage from construction, wildlife, weather events, and even vandalism or theft. A single severed cable can knock out internet and phone access for entire cities or regions until repairs are made. Satellite networks in space are unaffected by such localized terrestrial issues. Signals simply reroute through different ground stations as needed to maintain service across the full coverage area.

With high-throughput satellites, cutting-edge ground infrastructure investments, flat-panel antennas, and other innovations, providers like OneWeb are reshaping expectations for satellite internet. The Idaho fiber outage provides a stark reminder of the frailty and limitations of even advanced land-based networks. For reliable connectivity across entire states, countries, or the globe, satellites are uniquely positioned to deliver.

Leveraging over two decades of expertise, BusinessCom is a respected provider of dependable satellite services. Our offerings come with premium features like customized quality of service (QoS), circuit protection through SecureLink, and Multi-Service Optimization (MSO). Please contact us if you have any questions, including the expected availability of services in your area. With years of specialized experience under our belt, our team is ready to assist with your satellite needs and inquiries.

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