- The Washington Times - Monday, February 7, 2005

More than 3,000 Odenton, Md., businesses and residents who have been without phone service since Friday may not get their dial tones back for several more days, Verizon officials said yesterday.

The Verizon customers lost service after a private contractor laying a conduit for the power company severed six underground phone cables Friday afternoon.

Sandra Arnett, Verizon spokeswoman, said the incident could have affected as many as 11,000 phone lines, but the number is much smaller since not all the lines in the cable were active.

As of yesterday, 3,800 customer lines still were out of service. Verizon hopes to have all service back up and running sometime Thursday.

One of the problems the repair crews are facing is the amount of damage done to the phone cables. Out of the six cables affected, two were severed completely and one needs to have a section replaced.

“Some of our cables are color-coded, and it’s easier to make repairs. These aren’t, so it’s taking longer,” Mrs. Arnett said.

Area businesses report the outage is hurting the cash register.

“Lots of our customers use credit cards. When there is a problem with the phone lines, they can’t use cards. We’re normally really busy on Saturday, but people see we can’t take cards and they don’t come in,” said Johnny Nguyen, manager of Nails Today in the Seven Oaks Shopping Center.

Joanne Ifill, 34, of the Lake Village neighborhood, got her phone service back Sunday morning.

“It’s very inconvenient. I lose cell-phone service in parts of my house. I’m glad they got it back up because I was about to blast someone,” she said.

Verizon customers without service can call the business office number on their phone bills and have their bills adjusted, Mrs. Arnett said.

Repair crews are working around the clock on Route 175 near the Route 32 interchange, blocking the two left lanes of traffic.

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