Cut Cables Cost Everyone

WAUSAU, Wis. - Telephones silenced. 911 unavailable. Alarm systems knocked out. A new suspense movie? No, a cut cable.

It happens every spring when the weather turns warmer. Contractors and landscapers start digging and discover something unexpected -- buried utility cable that their equipment has accidentally severed.

Cut cables usually mean that communications services are out in the neighborhood or even in a wide area, affecting thousands of homes and businesses.

This unpleasant surprise could be avoided if construction crews, landscapers and other outdoor enthusiasts dialed Diggers Hotline before starting a project that involves digging of any kind.

By calling the toll-free hotline, 1-800-242-8511, callers can arrange to have Verizon or other Wisconsin utility companies visit their sites to mark the location of buried telephone cables, wires and pipes. The hotline operates 24 hours a day.

"Every year, area residents have their telephone service needlessly interrupted because someone didn't call before starting a construction project, even those as simple as digging a post hole for a mailbox," said Connie Oller-Heston, Verizon's director-customer operations for Wisconsin. "Calling Diggers Hotline is the surest and safest way to avoid damaging underground cables and interrupting telephone service."

A severed cable can be costly to the person or company responsible for causing the damage, and even more hurtful to someone who needs to make an emergency call but can't because the phone line is cut, said Oller-Heston.

Verizon advises customers and construction crews that, under state law, they must provide utility companies with advance notice of at least three working days before beginning any household chore or commercial project that involves digging.

Anyone who fails to comply could be liable for repair costs, if any, or civil penalties.

Buried telephone cables frequently run along the shoulder of the road or along the edges of property. Cables that provide service to a specific residence or business often run directly through the lot.

A Fortune 20 company, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services, with approximately $68 billion in annual revenues. Verizon companies are the largest providers of wireline and wireless communications in the United States. Verizon is also the largest directory publisher in the world, as measured by directory titles and circulation. Verizon's international presence includes wireline and wireless communications operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.