SkyLine Membership Corporation announces that dial tone services have been restored in all of Ashe County and Shady Valley, Tennessee, following yesterday’s outage, and officials are attributing the cause of the outage to vandalism of the company’s fiber optic vault in Shady Valley.
Damage to SkyLine’s fiber optic facilities in Shady Valley resulted in an initial outage there at approximately 3:24 a.m. Monday, affecting dial tone, Internet and TV services. SkyLine Plant employees were immediately dispatched to the area to splice the severed fiber facilities.
Subsequently, as the fiber was restored around 10:52 a.m., a software glitch in the Shady Valley switch promulgated into the host central office, which resulted in more widespread phone outages in West Jefferson and Creston.
Shady Valley’s video and Internet service was restored at 12:12 p.m. Monday, and phone service in the Shady Valley, Baldwin, West Jefferson and Creston exchanges was intermittently restored during the course of the day and fully restored at approximately 2:30 a.m. on Tuesday, May 14.
According to SkyLine Chief Executive Officer Jimmy Blevins, the Shady Valley telephone switch went into Emergency Standalone mode (ESA), which is intended to be a secondary alternative for local, toll and 911 calls to continue to be operational.
“When attempts were made to release Shady from the emergency mode and back to the host switch, it would not release,” Blevins said.
SkyLine’s engineers, along with the switch equipment vendor, determined that a software glitch in the switch caused the error in Shady Valley. Ultimately engineers disabled the ESA mode to bring service back online.
“SkyLine understands the reliance we all have on telecommunications service and the impact it has on our daily lives and businesses. Our engineering team is working with the equipment vendor to better understand the root cause of the software glitch. Nevertheless, all the problems stem from the initial fiber cut. While everyone may not realize this, most all wireless cellular towers are served by fiber-optic landline cables, and emergency 911 circuits and cellular are among the critical services that can be compromised,” Blevins said.
SkyLine is offering a $2,500 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the individual(s) responsible for the vandalism of its fiber optic vault in Shady Valley, and anyone with information is urged to contact the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department at 423-727-7761.
Established in 1951, SkyLine is a member-owned cooperative which provides a variety of telecommunications services to customers in Alleghany, Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties in North Carolina and Johnson County in east Tennessee. Along with its current focus of building a fiber-to-the-premise (FTTP) network, SkyLine is committed to enhancing the quality of life across the region through various charitable, educational and economic development programs.
Its wholly-owned subsidiary, SkyBest Communications, offers de-regulated products and services, including local calling and long distance services, business systems and networking solutions, broadband Internet services, home/ business security monitoring and medical alert, and digital TV service.