Update, 4:45 p.m.: Reports from residents are now starting to trickle in that their Frontier service has been restored.
Update. 4:50 p.m.: Javier Mendoza, Vice President of Corporate Communications and External Affairs for Frontier has confirmed that repairs have been completed and that service is being restored now.
Gales Creek – Many customers of Frontier Communications, the largest Internet Service Provider (ISP) in the Gales Creek area, have been experiencing an internet and telephone outage since Tuesday evening, according to dozens of social media posts, emails, messages, and phone calls to the Journal.
Now, a spokesperson for Frontier says the end is in sight, with a fix expected sometime Wednesday night.
“Tuesday night, a third-party excavator not associated with Frontier Communications dug into and severed a fiber-optic cable causing an interruption of high-speed Internet and voice telephone services,” said Javier Mendoza, Vice President of Corporate Communications and External Affairs for Frontier.
“Frontier crews were immediately dispatched, are working to repair the damage and expect restoration by tonight,” Mendoza continued in an email to the Gales Creek Journal.
The outage, affecting customers in the rural areas outside Forest Grove, including as far west as the Trolley Park neighborhood, Hillside, Watts, the Rippling Waters neighborhood, and other regions in and around Gales Creek, has some residents worried about communication with emergency services after a 20-25 acre wildfire caused home evacuations and damaged or destroyed several outbuildings in Gales Creek on Monday.
Many residents, especially those farther west along Highway 6, have no access to cell service, and rely on land lines through Frontier or calling via Wifi on a cell phone to make emergency and other phone calls.
Calls to Frontier’s general customer service line as of 4:12 p.m. regarding the issue were still met with a prerecorded message stating that the company was aware of the issue, and working on the problem, but that there was no estimated time that the issue would be fixed.
Meanwhile, simultaneous issues with AT&T cellular service started at the same time Frontier went down.
“Some customers in the Gales Creek area may be experiencing issues with their wireless service caused by a problem with the local provider’s network,” said Stephanie Kirk, a spokesperson for the Pacific Northwest region for AT&T in an email to the Gales Creek Journal.
“We have no land line or internet since last evening,” said Debi Delamarter, who lives with her husband, Ted in the Trolley Park neighborhood. “This is a catastrophe to Ted’s engineering business. He needs to be able to send and receive drawings all day,” Delamarter said.
Another area resident, Michelle Carmichael, says she works from home off of Highway 6 west of the Shell station, and that the region’s already spotty cell service made work impossible. “Basically I’ve lost an entire day of work,” she said.
“We thank our customers and the communities we serve for their patience as our team works to restore service as quickly as safely possible,” Mendoza said of Frontier’s efforts to restore service.
“We will provide updates on repairs.”