Copper Vandals May Be to Blame for Cable Outage During Sugar Bowl

Alan Pollock
Alan Pollock
Rhonda Criado
Rhonda Criado

HAWAII KAI (KHNL) --  Some fans watching the game here in the islands, couldn't believe it when their cable went out during the game. It happened just before the end of the first half.

And the problem was widespread, affecting Oceanic Time Warner Cable customers on Oahu and the neighbor islands.

Some fans had to scramble at the last minute to find a place that showed the game.

Fans packed The Shack in Hawaii Kai to watch the Warriors take on the Georgia Bulldogs at the Sugar Bowl.

Some didn't exactly plan on being there. They started watching it at home.

"It was kind of sad, and she actually said, oh turn it off. I can't watch it anymore, and then the cable went out," said Rhonda Criado, a Hawaii Kai resident.

That's when The Shack became Hawaii Kai's football central.

"We had at least 70 phone calls right when the cable went out. It backed up our phone calls for about an hour and 20 minutes," said Brendan Burchfiel, restaurant General Manager.

About 50 Hawaii fans who lost power packed in by the start of the second half.

"We waited for maybe 15 minutes to see if it would come back and it didn't," said Criado.  "We knew half time was going to be over, so we just came.

In all, about 5,000 customers on Oahu and 80,000 on neighbor islands lost cable anywhere from five minutes to an hour.

Oceanic Time Warner Cable executives say vandals cut a fiber optic cable line Kalihi Valley.

"There's a tree that fell, that hit the cable line that brought the cable line down," said Alan Pollock, Marketing Vice President.  "We don't know if the tree went down that day or last week, or two weeks ago. So it was down on the ground, and that's how they had access to it."

Vandals severed almost half of 144 fiber optic lines that provide cable as well as internet service.

Oceanic executives say it's difficult to safeguard cable against vandalism.

"We have 5,500 miles of cable across the state and on Oahu, it's like one giant loop," Pollock said.

And if vandals were looking for copper?  No copper wiring in any of Oceanic cables.

The vandalized cable was repaired earlier Wednesday afternoon.

There are no suspects at this time.