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Communications outage may be related to copper theft attempt

  • Hawaiian Telcom crews are repairing fiber optic cables that were cut Wednesday night near the airport viaduct on Nimitz Highway. (Photo by Craig T. Kojima/

Police were questioning a 42-year-old homeless man in connection with the vandalism of fiber optic communications cables that interrupted phone, Internet and cable television service Wednesday night through this morning.

It’s the second time in 10 days that service on Hawaiian Telcom and Oceanic Time-Warner lines was interrupted. A Jan. 15 fire, apparently set by a homeless man living in the area, burned cables cut service to 25,000 homes and businesses.

The fire under the airport viaduct is near the location of Wednesday night’s vandalism.

Police said the suspect was arrested at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday on suspicion of copper theft.

A spokeswoman for Hawaiian Telcom said the cable was “maliciously cut” Wednesday night at about 9:30 p.m.

Company spokeswoman Ann Nishida said the outage wasn’t as widespread as last week’s incident. She said about 500 customers were affected crews restored service to most customers by 1:45 a.m. and the lines were fully restored by about 9 a.m.

Crews had to splice individual strands of fiber optic cable together to repair the break. Data traffic was also rerouted.

“It’s painstaking work,” Nishida said.

Fiber optic cable does not contain copper.

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