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HPD says 911 phone service is working again

  • BRUCE ASATO /JAN. 15, 2015

    Jeris Nakamasu works at a police dispatch station in the Honolulu Police Department Communications Division.

A software glitch caused the intermittent failure of telephone calls statewide for eight hours today, and affected emergency calls to 911 as well.

The 911 system itself, however, was not the problem and was never down, a Hawaiian Telcom spokeswoman said.

The problem had been resolved by mid-afternoon, she said.

The source of the trouble was software in Hawaiian Telcom’s call-processing equipment, which allowed only some calls to go through, said Ann Nishida Fry, Hawaiian Telcom spokeswoman.

Technical problems caused intermittent communication problems with landlines and some cellphones serviced by Hawaiian Telcom on all islands. The problems occurred from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., with residents unable to call into any county police departments.

Even after Nishida Fry said the problem had been fixed, the Honolulu Police Department asked the public to limit 911 emergency calls.

Sarah Yoro, HPD spokeswoman, said if a 911 call fails, cellular telephone users may send a text message to 911.

“The text message should include the type of emergency service needed (police, fire or ambulance), the location of the emergency, and a brief description. Callers who send texts must enable location services on their mobile devices,” Yoro added.

The problem started about 6 a.m., according to Nishida Fry, and was cleared up by 9 a.m.

Services were fully restored at 2:20 p.m.

HPD only received one text message during the outage and it appears to have been an accidental text, according to HPD spokeswoman Michelle Yu.

Nishida Fry added: “Hawaiian Telcom implemented a routing solution that reduced the volume of voice calls impacted.”

However, there is still some intermittent impact to voice calls statewide including the 911 system, she said.

At 11 a.m., the Honolulu Police Department said its 911 system still wasn’t fully operational, and not all emergency calls were connecting with police dispatchers.

“All voice calls were intermittently impacted,” said Nishida Fry of the three-hour outage. “Some calls could be made. Other callers got a busy signal or ‘all circuits are busy’ response.”

Internet and data services were not affected during the outage

Nishida Fry said: “Technical teams are engaged and monitoring the situation.”

Customers who continue to experience intermittent issues with voice calls can contact Hawaiian Telcom online at and select “Chat with Us” or “Submit Support Request” or call 643-6111, Nishida Fry said.

Technical problems caused intermittent communication problems with land lines, cell phone service and 911 operations on all islands serviced by Hawaiian Telcom.

Fry could not say how many Hawaiian Telcom customers were affected.

Maui County officials said any network issues with 911 calls were resolved before noon. “All 911 calls made to our Dispatch Center on both cellular and land lines are being received. This includes the islands of Molokai and Lanai. Any issues being experienced within the other counties has not affected Maui,” officials said.

During the outage, Hawaii County Police Department said persons in need of police assistance were advised that if they couldn’t reach the police department by phone, they should report to the nearest police station or flag down a police officer.

Kauai County officials said their 911 system was fully operational by 10:30 a.m.

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  • We have reliable cheap electricity, natural gas and telephone service in North Dakota. So sorry Hawaii remains a third world country led by an inept monopoly party.

    • Which begs the question as to why you live here in Hawaii even working at a low-paying job and attending a school you keep saying is near the bottom?

      • After she finishes the 13th grade (liberal arts degree), which might be in the next 20 years, she’ll be on her way to joining the ranks of the homeless due to the crushing debt from her student loans and live it up in a tent with a million dollar beach view instead of moving back to some hole town like Fargo, North Dakota.

        • Do you not yet know that the guy going by the name of “Allie” on here is male and not female? On a similar note, a few weeks back another reader posted a link from 2008 where HE claimed to be a UH student.

      • I never said UH was academically near the bottom. Au contraire. I said it had some world-class programs and was in the middle of the ranking of national research universities in virtually every other program. I graduate in August in Education, not liberal arts. I work part-time in Waikiki and many of you seem to resent a student working to pay her own way. Tribal scholarships help but do not cover living expenses. I love Hawaii but see its many faults. I just want to offer constructive suggestions for improvements. And yes, I have volunteered for several non-profits in my time here. Ask IHS. Have you?

    • It’s motto was “beyond the call” for many years too. I’ve had a “temporally permanent” replacement number for eight years. Still cheaper than a cell phone, and works without power.

  • I ask why is someone who left somewhere as wonderful as North Dakota where utilities are cheap and reliable to live and work somewhere described as scary to attend a university as inept as UH for the past 10 years?

    • We have had a mediocre to poor executive off leadership but I never said the UH was a bad place. It is a very good place that could be better. People here do not respect what is respected nationally: UH is well regarded nationally and has a Phi Beta Kappa chapter. Look it up. Most colleges and universities do not have a chapter in such an elite academic society.

  • Hawtel’s service has been dreadful for years. Before you would wait 30-40 minutes just to get in a complaint. Now they answer the phone, and are trained to be real nice, but they can’t fix problems. After several complaints and a letter to the president, I told one of the reps, “how is it we can send stuff to Mars, and you folks can’t deliver reliable service?” (“We’ll look into it…blah, blah, blah)
    Two months without residential land line phone services at Alewa Hts, Puunui and parts of Liliha. Finally cancelled–hooked up with phone service through Time Warner (it works).

  • oh, my – given the everyday norm response times in a life-or-death scenarios, and then add the mysterious hawaii telcom’s current dilemma, AND THEN ADD the current left wing efforts to limit personal defense tools – is there any wonder why there exists such a spike in the number of applications for gun ownerships?

  • Technical problems caused intermittent communication problems with land lines, cell phone service and 911 operations on all islands serviced by Hawaiian Telcom.

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