Phone outage impacts 16,000 in northeast Wyoming

Via the Wyoming News Exchange



GILLETTE (WNE) — About 16,000 people were impacted Tuesday during a phone outage that downed phone lines across the city and county, along with 911 calls. The outage also affected those in Weston County and some parts of Crook County.


David King, Campbell County Emergency Management coordinator, said its cause had something to do with a crew about 18 miles outside of Wright.


“I got a couple of descriptions,” he said. “It was either a break or wiring connections were not as they should have been.”


The outage began Tuesday morning.


The crew went back to the site to fix the issue and throughout the day, county and city lines, hospital lines and cellphone service began to slowly come back online. By about 4 p.m. Tuesday, King said he only heard that Weston County was still having problems.


Different providers were affected during the outage, including Lumen, the platform that handles 911 calls. Those in Campbell and Weston County could not call 911 but a countywide alert sent out at about 8 a.m. Tuesday gave other numbers to call in an emergency.


During the outage, texts to 911 could still go through because SMS uses less bandwidth and needs less service than a call. King said an after-action meeting with all agencies will go over what should be done differently in future, but overall, outcomes were good.


“It made for an interesting day,” King said. “There were no tragedies that I know of, no severe medical event that we were unable to get a hold of them.”


This story was published on September 22, 2023. 

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