What’s causing Verizon outages in Prince Edward & Cumberland?

Published 2:21 pm Thursday, February 2, 2023

FARMVILLE – If you have a Verizon phone, expect to wait a few more hours before it is fully working again. Company officials told The Herald that it’ll be later this evening before they’re able to fully fix the Verizon outages in Prince Edward and Cumberland counties. And all of this stems from an accident, one fiber line being cut. 

“A fiber cut has led to an interruption in service for some customers in your area,” said Steve Van Dinter. He works as Director of Local Area Communications for Verizon. 

As of 12:23 p.m., Van Dinter said engineers were en route to fix the fiber and restore service as soon as possible. 

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“We do not have an estimated time for service restoration now,” Van Dinter told The Herald

The issue stretches far beyond The Herald’s coverage area. Van Dinter said Verizon customers from Wythe County to Charlottesville were affected by the cut line.

However, when asked, Van Dinter couldn’t say which company’s work crew was responsible for cutting the line. He also couldn’t say where specifically the incident happened, only that engineers were en route to fix it. 

Customers asked to use wifi calling

Until the fiber is repaired, Van Dinter suggested that customers make sure wifi calling is enabled on their phones. That way, even if your Verizon service is down, you’ll be able to make and receive calls if you have access to a wifi network. 

 Voice calling on a wifi network uses about 1 to 5 megabytes of data. If you want to try a video call, that works too, ranging from 6 to 30 megabytes of use per minute. But here’s the important part. You have to stay connected to the network during the call. As long as you do that,  the call won’t count against your mobile plan’s data allowance, Van Dinter said. But if you move around, if you try a wifi call and step out of the network’s range, it’ll either be dropped or you’ll be charged. 

Also, there will be times during the repair when service comes back on, only to go off minutes later. That’s normal during work like this, Verizon officials say.

In addition to wifi calls, we need to talk about “SOS” briefly. You may see “SOS” on the top right section of your Verizon phone. That means you have the ability to make emergency calls and dial 911, despite Verizon’s network being down. However, Farmville police ask you not to give up if they don’t immediately answer.

“If you cannot get to wifi and have an emergency, keep trying to call and it may come through,” the department said in a statement. “Stay on the line because we may not be able to call you back.”

Verizon outages due to lines being cut

This is something Prince Edward County has been dealing with for several months. The difference is typically a utility line is cut by workers attempting to plow the ground and lay fiber-optic cables for high-speed broadband internet. In this case, it involved an existing fiber-optic cable being damaged. 

In Virginia, it’s up to the owners of the lines to make sure they’re properly marked. If not, it’s easy for work crews to miss and accidentally tear them up while digging. Back in January, fiber buyer GAC Enterprises told The Herald it had a team documenting all hits of the lines in Prince Edward County. That team found the majority of hits occur due to inaccurate markers.