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 hawaiiantel.com/Support 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.