The company working to restore utility cables damaged during construction work in Congress Square said Wednesday that repairs are still underway even as some customers reported their service was finally restored after a week without phone and internet.

Jo Coyne of Salem Street said her internet went out last Wednesday right after she logged in to check her email.

The Congress Square redesign project at the intersections of High, Free and Congress streets has been delayed by utility-related complications. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

“Suddenly, everything went dead,” said Coyne, 80. “I think that was right at the time the cable was cut.”

Coyne said Wednesday morning she was growing increasingly frustrated with the lack of internet and landline phone service at her home on Salem Street in the city’s West End, but around 8:45 p.m. she said her phone was working again. “I picked it up, tried it … and it worked,” she said.

Last week, a construction crew working on the Congress Square redesign accidentally damaged a Consolidated Communications duct bank, affecting both fiber and copper cables. Fiber service has since been restored, but the company was still repairing the copper cables, which provide phone and DSL services, as of Wednesday afternoon.

“Our team is working around the clock, but it still will be a few days,” said Nicole Elton, a spokesperson for Consolidated Communications. “We’re hoping by the end of this week, but that’s an aggressive timeline. More realistically, we’re looking at early next week.”


Elton said she couldn’t say how many Consolidated customers were affected by the damaged cables.

“It is incredibly frustrating for our customers, which we understand, and that’s why we’re putting as many resources as we can into this,” she said.

Eighteen customers of Great Works Internet, which uses Consolidated’s copper wires, were affected by the outage, spokesperson Colin Haley said.

Coyne, a GWI customer, said she had been going to the public library daily to check email. Her partner, who lives in the same neighborhood and is a Consolidated customer, also lost landline phone service.

Coyne’s neighbor Rosanne Graef said she was able to get by with a hot spot her husband has access to for work, even though her GWI landline and internet were still out as of Wednesday afternoon.

Graef, 72, said the outage is just one more complication of the Congress Square redesign project, which has fallen behind schedule.


“I think the fallout from this incident that took place at the construction site isn’t really being recognized or people aren’t aware of it,” she said.

Haley did not respond to a phone message or email late Wednesday asking if he could confirm whether Coyne and Graef were among the 18 GWI customers affected by the outage.

At 100 State Street, a nearby apartment building housing elderly and disabled residents, Brian Frost, director for the property management company Port House Management, said phone lines for the office and several tenants stopped working last week.

Elton said she could not share customer-specific information when asked about the situation at 100 State Street, but Frost said the office was notified by Consolidated that a line had been cut. “They didn’t say where but anecdotally, it’s right up the street,” Frost said.

Frost said some residents got their phone service back Tuesday, but office lines were still down Wednesday afternoon.

“We weren’t aware it was outside our building, but it sounds like we’re not alone,” he said.

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