UPDATE: Cell phone calls to 911 and 311 now working

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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — Update (5:30 p.m.)

According to APD, Cell phone calls to 911 and 311 are now working. Police say intermittent issues may occur while repairs are being made.

Heather Cavanaugh, director of corporate communications for Alaska Communications said all services have been restored thanks to redundancy lines.

A fiber line in the Lower 48 belonging to a different carrier was cut during bridge construction in the Seattle area Saturday and damaged phone service in Alaska.

Cavanaugh said that ACS has two fiber-optic lines connected to the Lower 48. She said their lines weren't damaged but the connection to servers handling some services, including 911 calls, in Anchorage were.

"This outage was really a couple of servers in the Lower 48 that we use for some services and the redundant connection to those servers is what went out," she said.

Cavanaugh said what happened was a rare circumstance because redundant fiber-optic lines are meant to be a way to keep people in service when something like this happens.

"When we get down to the Lower 48, we connect with other carriers to complete calls and connect customers to the internet and so on," she said, "and again, when we do that we have redundant paths or diverse paths. So if something goes out then you reroute the traffic and keep all customers in service."

Other services that operate on servers like the one that left 911 out over the weekend are things like 800 number calling, caller ID, and number portability, according to Cavanaugh.

Cavanaugh continued to say that they know one of the lines to the other carrier's service was damaged in the construction project, but they are still looking into what happened to the other redundancy line.

The one set of servers that was impacted by this is what explains why landlines were working to get a hold of 911 and not just some cell phone calls.

"It just had to do with how things connect on the network related to that server," Cavanaugh said, "and the 911 service was actually up and running, it was just that some wireless calls into 911 that weren't completing."

If you have trouble getting ahold of 911, APD suggests using a landline. If 911 doesn't work, they said you can always call their main landline number at 907-786-8900.

Original story:

An unknown technical issue affecting multiple cellular carriers in Anchorage is preventing 911 calls from being received by Anchorage Police and Fire dispatch.

According to an alert by APD on Saturday afternoon, calls to 911 and 311 via cell phone aren't being received by dispatch.

GCI customers are unaffected by the outage.

AFD issued a similar alert just after 2:00 p.m.

According to a post by Alaska Communications on Facebook, a fiber cut in the lower 48 is causing their customers with internet-based cell phone services to experience an outage.

Anyone needing assistance should use a land line to call 911 or 311, or to call the APD and AFD landline number at 907-786-8900.

It is unclear how widespread the outage is.

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