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1,600 remain without Hawaiian Telcom service

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 11:47 a.m. HST, Aug 28, 2014

HILO >> About 1,600 Hawaiian Telcom customers on the Big Island remain without service nearly three weeks after Tropical Storm Iselle made landfall over the Puna region.

Most of the customers without service are in the Puna and Pahala areas, company spokeswoman Ann Nishida Fry said. The storm's damage also left thousands in the area without electricity, but power to most homes has been restored.

The 1,600 customers are without landline phone or Internet service, or both, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.

Service is expected to be restored for most by mid-September, but it could be longer for Nanawale Estates, Nishida Fry said.

"Nanawale was the most heavily impacted by the storm, and right now, we're assessing the best approach to restore service to customers," she said.

Nishida Fry didn't give an estimated date for service restoration in Nanawale. Crews were working on restoring service in Hawaiian Beaches, Leilani Estates and Hawaiian Paradise Park, she said.

She said in some cases, service had to intentionally cut to help clear roadways to allow access in and out of Puna.

The phone company is providing free Wi-Fi at the Hawaiian Paradise Park Activity Center and Pahoa Community Center between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily.

The company flew in additional crews from Oahu to help restore service.

"Initially, about 14,000 Big Island customers, primarily in the Puna and Pahala areas, lost service as a result of the storm," Nishida Fry said. "By the following day, service was restored to about half of those."

Some customers are growing frustrated, the newspaper reported.

"Hawaiian Telcom values our customers and we want them to know we are working hard to restore their services that were impacted by the storm," Nishida Fry said.

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