Thu, Mar 14, 2002 - Page 17 News List

Severed line puts KG Telecom subscribers on hold

By Annabel Lue  /  STAFF REPORTER

Several hundred thousand cellphone service subscribers of KG Telecommunications Co (和信電訊) may have lost service yesterday after construction workers repairing underground water lines cut a fiber-optic transmission cable.

"At about 9:15am, our control center reported that service in Neihu, Peitou, Shihlin and Keelung was disconnected," May Wu (吳美慧), public relations manager at KG Telecom, said.

Industry watchers estimated that at least "several hundred thousand" KG Telecom users were caught in the blackout.

Wu refused to confirm or deny the figure's accuracy.

Contractors for the Taipei Water Department severed the fiber-optic cable connecting KG Telecom's transmission station and state-run Chunghwa Telecom Co's (中華電信) switching center during repairs on a ruptured water line.

Wu said services were restored by 2:20pm yesterday.

She said the contractor and Chunghwa should be responsible for the financial cost of the repairs. "As for an exact pay-back plan, we are just about to discuss it," Wu said.

Severed underground power and phone lines occur regularly. In October, Taiwan Power Co (台電) snipped a Chunghwa telephone cable, leaving people across southern Taiwan without Internet access and unable to make long-distance calls.

A telecom industry professional said these accidents are annoying. "It not only interrupts our operations but impacts customer convenience," said Shih Mu-piao (石木標), chief engineer at Chunghwa.

He said that while most of the time construction workers follow government regulations before digging, sometimes they don't follow the rules very well. Yesterday's accident was one the cases.

"Because one of our pipelines had a rupture this morning, we notified the contractor to repair it as soon as possible," Lee Hsiao-lun (李曉倫), an official at Taipei Water Department, said yesterday.

Apparently, the subcontractor will be footing the bill.

"Our contractor has admitted the mistake, saying they're willing to take the responsibility," Lee said.

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