Fiber Optics Cut Causes Sprint Service Interuption

Sprint Nextel Corp.'s wireless, long-distance and Internet customers along the West Coast were without service for several hours Monday after a fiber-optic cable was cut west of Phoenix.

The problem was compounded by network repairs near Reno, Nev., that had forced the company to route calls from that region through the Phoenix lines, spokesman John Taylor said.

Taylor said both cables were repaired by 7 p.m. EST, and that service had been restored in the affected areas. He said he didn't know how many customers nationwide had lost service.

The cable cut, between Phoenix and Palm Springs, Calif., happened about 3:30 p.m. EST, Taylor said, but he said company officials didn't know yet what caused it.

"It affected (network) traffic going to and coming from the West Coast and other Western parts of the U.S.," Taylor said. But some internet service providers such as reported that customers were affected in other parts of the country as well.

The emergency work near Reno was in response to cable that was cut after heavy rains washed out a railroad where the cable was buried, he said.

"Where the cut happened was inaccessible by car," Taylor said. "Crews went in on the railroad. They carried cable in, stringing it through the trees."

He said the outage, which lasted about 3 1/2 hours, affected customers of the both the Sprint PCS and the Nextel cell phone services. Residential and business wireline customers lost service in the affected areas as well.

Though the bulk of the outages were in the West, Taylor said isolated outages also were reported in other parts of the country, including in West Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Sprint Nextel is based in Reston, Va., and has an operational headquarters in Overland Park, Kan.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press.

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