LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - It could be another two days before phone service is restored in Lewis County.
Phone service has been out since Wednesday morning. Frontier Communications said a suspected lightning strike to a microwave tower at its Lowville office disrupted telephone voice service to customers in Lowville and nearby communities including Brantingham, Chase Lake, Croghan, Lyons Falls, Stillwater, New Bremen, Petries Corners and Sears Pond.
Customers in the Boonville, Old Forge and Remsen areas still cannot access long distance dialing or voicemail. Frontier Internet services are operating normally.
Frontier technicians immediately began working Wednesday morning and we’re now being supported by added staff, the telecom equipment manufacturer and senior network operations experts as they continue to troubleshoot, replace damaged components and test field systems in efforts to restore phone service," said Javier Mendoza, Frontier VP of communications.
The utility said phone service is expected to be restored in the next two days.
That loss of connection is hurting many local businesses.
Cafe Z in Lowville is a popular spot to grab a quick coffee, but simple transactions like that aren't so simple.
"Our credit card machine runs through our phone lines, so without the phone, no credit card machine," said Jacklyn Naftsier, Cafe Z employee.
Other businesses are using fax machines and old phones to get through the day’s work.
Frontier said the suspected lightning strike disrupted its system "in unusual ways, damaging some electronics and requiring extended troubleshooting. Frontier’s facilities are ground-fault protected but the effects of lighting are unpredictable and beyond control."
Frontier said it has brought in additional personnel to expedite repairs at the Lowville facility and to nearby field infrastructure sites. Crews are working closely with senior level network operations center experts and the telecom equipment manufacturer.
Frontier said it’s also coordinating with local emergency response agencies and in close communication with staff at Lewis County General Hospital. Hospital CEO Jerry Cayer said he feels good about Frontier’s ability to remedy the situation. And he said employees are working extra hard while they wait for things to go back to normal
The hospital set up a temporary solution until phone service is restored. To reach Lewis County General Hospital and Residential Health Care Facility, Beaver River or Harrisville Health Centers from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., the community can call the hospital’s South Lewis Health Center at 315-348-8407. The facility phones are working internally, so calls can be transferred back to the hospital switchboard operator who will then direct calls accordingly. To contact the hospital from 5 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. call 315-836-5711. In case of an emergency dial 911 or visit your local emergency department.