In the areas served by TDS Telecom, a partially cut fiber optic line disrupted phone and Internet access for several hours beginning around 8:30 p.m. Sunday night. Service was restored in the early morning hours of Monday, April 18.
Affected areas included Cedaredge, Paonia, Hotchkiss, Eckert and Somerset, Curtis McCoy, owner of Boss Celluar reported.
McCoy said TDS technicians worked to splice the fiber optic line until approximately 3 a.m. Monday. The issue was declared resolved at approximately 9 a.m.
Delta County Sheriff Fred McKee said the outage originated near Payne's Siding, east of Delta, where a similar occurrence the previous year was blamed on prairie dogs.
When service is disrupted, the county's emergency plan calls for 911 calls to be rerouted to the Hotchkiss and Cedaredge fire stations. Trained dispatchers are called in to relay emergency phone calls from those fire stations to Delta Dispatch.
According to a Facebook post from the Hotchkiss Fire District, some landlines were working locally, while others were totally out. Sprint cell phones were also affected.
"It's pretty serious business when we lose our 911 service," said Sheriff McKee. A meeting is scheduled later this week between emergency managers and TDS to discuss preventive measures.
A collaborative effort between the Delta County Sheriff's Office and municipal law enforcement agencies throughout Delta County has resulted in a proposal for a 1 percent sales tax increase to fund public safety. A PowerPoint presentation titled "Back the Badge" is starting to make the rounds at city/town council meetings, service club luncheons and other events.