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07-05-2018 Verizon Wireless Outage



Salida, Colorado


July 5, 2018

On Friday afternoon, June 29, 2018, subscribers to Verizon Wireless in Chaffee County lost all phone and most texting capabilities on the Verizon network due damages caused to fiber optic lines due to a wildfire  burning in southern Colorado. When subscribers to Verizon lost their ability to use the network they also lost the ability to access 911 services with the Chaffee County Communications Center. This outage lasted until Tuesday afternoon, July 3rd, when most Verizon services were restored to nearly all of Chaffee County.

The best way to notify residents of this outage and their inability to access Chaffee County 911 was by way of conversations with both local radio stations and our local printed media. Reverse 911, Everbridge, notifications was ineffective because phone services were lost to Verizon Wireless customers.

On Tuesday, June 29th, Sheriff John Spezze began conversations with the FCC, Federal Communications Commission, in Washington, D.C. in regards to this situation and the several other outages residents and visitors have experienced on the Verizon network over the past year. Sheriff Spezze gave a chronology of the lack of service provided to Chaffee County on the Verizon network but most importantly they were briefed on the public safety issues residents of Chaffee County and visitors as well have endured due to lack of redundancy built into the Verizon network, which utilizes Charter/Spectrum fiber optics.

Also during this same time period I received a call from State Representative Jim Wilson in regards to this matter. He has offered to get involved in this situation and assured Sheriff John Spezze that he will do everything in his power to help remedy this situation.

On Thursday, July 5th, Sheriff John Spezze resumed conversations with the FCC in regards to this situation. They also assured Sheriff Spezze that they will be in contact with Verizon Wireless and will begin the process to remedy this situation. An ongoing dialogue with the FCC will be maintained between Sheriff John Spezze and the FCC in regards to this matter.

The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office will update all residents of Chaffee County in regards to this situation as details emerge.