HALAWA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Nearly 90 Hawaiian Telcom customers have reported landline and internet outages in the Halawa Valley area after a cable was flooded last week and they were shocked when the company told them they could be without service for three weeks.
Hawaiian Telcom said Thursday the rainy weather is delaying repairs but the problems could be fixed a week and a half sooner than original estimates.
The phone lines went down at Security Resources, an electronic security company on Iwaena Street in Halawa Valley last Friday, following heavy rains.
Hawaiian Telcom said the security company is one of 550 customers -- mostly businesses -- served by phone and internet cables that were flooded in the Halawa area, causing the problems. Nearly 90 of those customers have reported outages or service trouble.
"It dramatically affected from a communications standpoint. Normally, we would have calls coming in all day. Calls for service, calls for new business. That's all impacted by not having our phones," said Patrick O'Brien, CEO of Security Resources.
Security Resources is using an answering service that's faxing them messages so they can call customers back on their cell phones, O'Brien said.
But O'Brien and other business owners are upset that Hawaiian Telcom has told them the service could be out until September 30, three weeks after the outage started.
"I think it's way too long in this technology age to have that long of a time to fix a cabling or wiring issue seems to be a long time to me," O'Brien said.
Hawaiian Telcom spokeswoman Su Shin said because it rained so much, one of its repair trucks got stuck in the mud Friday trying to get into a manhole to repair the flooded cable.
Shin said the repair crew was able to get into the manhole Thursday and begin repairs on the underground cables. She said crews will continue working at the site Friday, Saturday and Sunday and hope to have service fully restored by Monday, a week and a half after the outage began.
But Shin said heavy rains could delay that plan.
Until the ground dried out to support the weight of a repair truck, crews could not begin repairs so it was unclear how long the outage will last, Shin said. That's why the company gave the original worst-case scenario repair estimate of Sept. 30, she said.
Another Halawa business, Whittco and Meiso, Inc., a rug, carpeting and upholstery cleaning company has had no phone or internet service since Friday.
Jeff Whittington, the owner of Whittco and Meiso, said, "It slows us down. It helps from being able to service our customers sooner. And we just do the best we can using cell phones for the internet for hot spot and another cell phone to receive the incoming calls."
Other Halawa businesses report intermittent problems. Building contractor Kingdom Builders said one of its lines was down, one was working and two others were full of static or occasionally out.
Hawaiian Telcom said it will credit any customers who have called in service complaints for the days they had service problems. And the company is offering free call forwarding to other phone numbers until service is restored.