Intermittent phone outages impact 911 calls

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Hawaiian Telcom experienced a technical issue that intermittently impacted voice calls statewide Wednesday, including calls to 911.

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Hawaiian Telcom experienced a technical issue that intermittently impacted voice calls statewide Wednesday, including calls to 911.

During this time, some voice calls did not go through and callers may have heard a fast busy signal or an “all circuits are busy” message.

According to Hawaiian Telcom spokeswoman Ann Nishida Fry, the trouble started at about 6 a.m. and lasted until about 2 p.m. The company issued a statement Wednesday morning saying the problem was fixed at about 9 a.m., but retracted that at 9:45 a.m., saying calls were still being “intermittently impacted.”

At 3:40 p.m., Hawaiian Telcom issued another statement saying, “The cause was determined to be a problem with call routing equipment, which allowed only some voice calls to complete. Hawaiian Telcom technicians are continuing to monitor the situation closely and plan to implement solutions to ensure this does not re-occur.”

The Hawaii Police Department sent public alerts via email and text messages, as well, noting the intermittent communication problem.

“Persons in need of police assistance are advised that if they can’t reach the Police Department by phone, they should report to the nearest police station or flag down a police officer,” a 9:02 a.m. message said.

Police said 911 service was restored on Hawaii Island as of 2:30 p.m. Honolulu Police Department advised Oahu residents to limit 911 calls.

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A department spokeswoman said in the event of a failed 911 call, cellphone users should send a text message including the type of emergency service needed (police, fire or emergency medical services), a brief description of the problem and the emergency location, and noted those sending texts needed to enable location services on their cellphones.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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