Cut cable knocks out Mediacom services

Between 5,000 and 10,000 customers were affected

A severed fiber optic cable knocked out phone, television and internet service to between 5,000 and 10,000 Mediacom Communications customers in the Fort Dodge area for several hours Wednesday.

The service interruption started at about 11:05 a.m. Service was fully restored to most customers by 7:14 p.m., according to Phyllis Peters, communications director for Mediacom. Service to Humboldt was expected to be fully restored by 9:30 p.m., she said.

A project that involved putting in new utility poles in an area about a mile and a half north of Mallard in Palo Alto County led to the problem. Peters said a contractor, who was not working for Mediacom, placed a utility pole into the ground and broke an underground fiber optic cable.

Peters said the cable consisted of a sheath containing 100 fibers. Workers who specialize in splicing such fibers together were called to the scene to make repairs.

”It isn’t as simple as switching out a broken part with a new one that will work,” she said.

The outage affected a large area north of U.S. Highway 20, including Belmond, Clarion, Fort Dodge, Gilmore City, Humboldt and Webster City.