Spectrum, a telecommunications company that provides internet, phone and cable service in Maine, experienced widespread outages in Portland on Tuesday.

An independent excavator was performing a dig in downtown Portland and caused “extensive damage” to Spectrum’s fiber-optic cable network, said Andrew Russell, director of communications for Spectrum. The contractor does not work for Spectrum.

Russell said a team of technicians responded and was repairing the damage, which was reported around noontime. Russell said crews were still making repairs at 11 p.m. and were almost finished.

“We appreciate our customers’ patience and are working to restore services as soon as possible,” Russell said in an email.

The city of Portland, which was significantly impacted by the outage, said about 3,000 customers lost internet or cable TV service at some point during the day.

The lack of internet service caused Portland city officials to postpone a public meeting Tuesday night of the City Council’s Economic Development and Health and Human Services committees, at which councilors were going to hammer out details in the city’s recreational marijuana licensing rules. City officials expected they would be able to livestream the meeting, and opted to postpone it when they realized their internet service was down.

City officials greeted people at the entranceway to the City Council chambers to inform them of the outage. Some people had driven for hours to get to the meeting. City officials had to make an on-the-spot call on whether or not to postpone it.

“We knew people would be upset either way,” said Greg Mitchell, the city’s economic development director. “If we canceled, people who traveled here would be upset. If we held it anyway, but didn’t livestream it, people would be mad they couldn’t hear and see what we were doing.”

Mitchell said the city decided to err on the side of transparency and delay the meeting until it could be live-streamed.

Jessica Grondin, the city’s spokeswoman, said the meeting has yet to be rescheduled, and added that the outage had impacted operations at City Hall. Service was lost around 4 p.m.

Grondin said city workers were unable to get on the state’s Department of Motor Vehicles website to do motor vehicle registrations. The city could still receive payments, but not by credit card.

 

 

 

 

 


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