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Fiber Optic Cable Severed, Impacting Valley Communications And Safety

Communications throughout the valley were impacted Tuesday after a CenturyLink fiber optic line was severed near Carbondale. 

While the outage was mostly impacting cell phone and internet service, some landlines were also not functioning, compromising some residents’ access to 911. Public safety officials issued statements throughout the day telling people to head to the nearest fire station to report an emergency if they could not get through to 911.

“If someone cannot access 911 via telephone they are being told to go to their nearest fire station where they will find either a firefighter, EMT/paramedic, law enforcement officer or a working 911 call box,” says an email briefing from the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office.

Aspen Valley Hospital was among the impacted entities. No landlines into the facility were functioning as of Tuesday late afternoon, although community relations director Jennifer Slaughter said an analog backup to the main 925-1120 line would be functioning by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. 


Operations within the hospital were not impacted, Slaughter said.

“This underscores the fact that we do have systems in place and we are prepared for this type of incident,” Slaughter said. 

CenturyLink is working to get the fiber optic line repaired, but a spokesman could not estimate when the fix would be completed. 

“We are working to get replacement fiber on location,” the spokesman wrote in an email. 

The company’s statement says: “Due to a third-party fiber cut, customers in Aspen, Carbondale and Snowmass are experiencing disruptions to their internet, phone and 911 services. Customers should try to reach the local police or fire station using their landline or cell phone and, if unsuccessful, should drive to the nearest fire station or hospital. Technicians are working to restore services as quickly as possible.

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