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Fiber-optic line cuts disrupt telephone service around state

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Two levels of telephone service were interrupted in the north country Monday when one or more fiber-optic lines were cut.


St. Lawrence County Emergency Services Director Martin J. Hassett said a "major" fiber-optic line cut in the Rochester area has left areas around the state without standard telephone service.


Sheriff Kevin M. Wells said the county's phone system is down, but anyone with an emergency can call 911. Mr. Hassett said the problem resides with PAETEC, a Rochester-area telecommunications provider.


Interim county Information Technology Office Director Keith J. Zimmerman said he had not heard from PAETEC officials late Monday about how soon the problem would be fixed.


He said anyone having trouble calling 911 from a land line phone should be able to get through on a cell phone.


"They believe it's affecting several areas of the state," he said.


County fire officials requested that all fire stations be staffed because of the outage.


In Jefferson County, meanwhile, nearly all of the AT&T cell towers were experiencing technical difficulty. Company officials said full phone service should be restored between 9 and 10 a.m. today.


"Just about every tower in that area is having an issue," said David W. Hall, a customer service representative from AT&T. "There is a fiber-optic cut in Watertown. We don't know exactly where the problem is, but part of the cut fiber is owned by National Grid."


Mr. Hall said a crew from National Grid was addressing the situation beginning at 4:30 p.m. Monday.


"We're working on that issue right now and we will have it fixed as soon as possible," Mr. Hall said. "It should be repaired by 9:37 a.m. Tuesday."

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