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Cut Fiber Optic Cable Causes Widespread Outage in Alabama

Cut Fiber Optic Cable Causes Widespread Outage in Alabama

Last week, a utility contractor accidentally cut a main fiber optic cable belonging to AT&T, resulting in a widespread outage for much of Northern Alabama. The cut resulted in the loss of both voice and Ethernet data services for AT&T’s customers in the area west of Huntsville, Alabama including Athens, Florence, Cullman, The Shoals, Decatur, Hartselle, and Madison. If the utility contractor had an fiber optic map he could have avoided this outage.

The cut to the fiber optic cable happened while the contractor was digging, but was restored later that afternoon after AT&T’s personnel made the appropriate repairs to the cable. It is surprising to many that a single cut to one fiber optic cable could affect AT&T’s service to so many customers in the region. Most people expected the territory would not have a single point of failure or at least have redundancy set up in case of something like this happening.

In the unforeseen event of a cut fiber optic cable, like what happened this week in Alabama, telecommunications providers and city officials can use various telecom GIS data products, such as fiber optic maps and metro fiber maps, to determine the best alternate fiber route to redirect traffic so that less people are inconvenienced while the cut fiber optic cable is being repaired.

At GeoTel Communications, our products integrate telecom infrastructure data with geospatial technologies so that telecom providers like AT&T can analyze fiber network assets in a spatial, map-like environment and quickly make decisions when every minute counts. GeoTel’s Fiber Maps data set is digitized in GIS for cities and layered onto high-quality street data or aerial imagery.  To order any of GeoTel’s data sets for a particular city or metro area, give GeoTel Communications a call at 407.788.8888.

Valerie Stephen