IOWA DERECHO 2020

Internet service slow to return because of damage to fiber network in derecho

12,0000 Mediacom customers still without service as of Sunday

Lineman Todd Nyland of Manchester works to install a new cross arm on a utility pole along Winslow Road in Marion on Mon
The Gazette
Lineman Todd Nyland of Manchester works to install a new cross arm on a utility pole along Winslow Road in Marion on Monday, Aug. 17, 2020. (Andy Abeyta/The Gazette)

Internet providers are working closely behind electric companiesto restore service to their customers in the aftermath of thederecho that devastated Eastern Iowa on Aug. 10.

ImOn has restored service to 72 percent of its customers as of Sunday afternoon, according to spokeswoman Lisa Rhatigan.

Mediacom said its staff is working to restore internet to its customers in the Cedar Rapids area, which covers Fairfax, Hiawatha, Marion, Mount Vernon, Newhall, Norway, Palo, Swisher and Toddville as well, said spokeswoman Phyllis Peters.

As of 5 p.m. Sunday, more than 12,000 of those customers remained without internet.

POWER UPDATE:1,300 still without power Monday morning

Peters said technicians are working to fix parts of the fiber-optic network including the nodes, which connect to provide internet services to customer’s homes.

“A node in one neighborhood may be without power or is under repair,” Peters said. “At the same time, homes on one side of the node may have their electrical power. But until the power or repair is made at the node, there will be customer locations within a radius of the node where internet signals are unable to be delivered.”

Peters said another situation the company is finding is that there is damage to the hard line fiber or the last feet of the fiber-coax that connects after the node and closest to the home.

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“So we repair or have power to the node, but some homes are still without internet because of the damage between node and home,” she said.

So to figure out where the problems lie, workers have had to walk every foot of the fiber-optic network, neighborhood by neighborhood, Peters said. She said the internet will not always return 24 hours after power is restored because of various situations at the key network location- the neighborhood hubs.

“The routing of our network from these neighborhood nodes doesn’t mirror the power grid, which means that on one side of a block or street, power may be up and running but our internet service doesn’t yet have a clear path to reach the homes,” Peters said. “Meanwhile, on the other side of the block, everything can be functioning smoothly.”

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