Voltage from power line, lightning pointed to as cause of internet outage

Online classes were cancelled and many businesses were impacted across Whidbey and Fidalgo islands Monday when Comcast internet went out.

Nick McDonald, a spokesman for Comcast, explained in an email that “voltage from high-power transmission lines melted some fiber near the Swinomish Reservation resulting in a loss of all television, high-speed Internet and telephone services.” An insulator failed on the transmission line, he said.

But Jarrett Tomalin, a Puget Sound Energy spokesperson, said the outage “was due to a lightning strike that hit the pole, and ultimately damaged the communications equipment.”

Comcast services weren’t the only ones affected by the outage.

Cell phone providers had worked with Comcast to carry information between its cell sites and core network on the fiber lines, according to a Verizon spokesperson. As a result, the melted fiber caused the loss or degradation of cell service.

The outage started just after 12 a.m. Monday. Service was completely restored to all customers at 3:15 Tuesday morning.

Online classes were cancelled for students doing distance learning in all three Whidbey school districts.

In Oak Harbor, in-person classes on the hybrid rotational schedule and the “soft start” at Oak Harbor Intermediate was able to continue as planned. Teachers weren’t able to have live classes online, but thy were able to continue with asynchronous lessons, according to a schools spokesperson. Students were able to access lessons and assignments once the internet service returned.

Reports that the outage impacted communities along the Interstate 5 corridor were inaccurate, according to Comcast.

More in News

Emergency repairs follow water line break near Flintstone Park

Water is scheduled to be shut off to three businesses on Monday in Oak Harbor.

Man shoots, injures fawn to feed coyotes | Island Scanner

A man reported he shot a fawn on Friday night. Someone reported seeing an injured fawn the next day.

Districts differ in how they approach in-person learning

South Whidbey School District wants to bring 150 “at-risk” kids back to school.

Local attorneys vie for superior court

Voters will decide between two South Whidbey residents for judge.

House candidate sued for scam, says he was a victim

Bill Bruch was accused of scamming people out of thousands of dollars in the late 1990s.

City raises utility rates despite public outcry

The average Oak Harbor family’s utility bill be nearly $200 per month next year.

Man accused of setting van on fire because of dog

The van’s owner said he owed the man thousands of dollars for a German shepherd and drugs.

Driver injured after car rolls on highway

The driver’s injuries were non-life-threatening.

South Whidbey water system tests positive for E. coli

Vistaire Water System customers should boil their water before drinking or otherwise using it.

Most Read