Comcast services were down for about 12 hours on the coast on Thursday. The outage occurred shortly after the telecommunications giant announced upgrades designed to prevent such events.

Company officials say the trouble occurred on Wednesday night, as Comcast crews were completing roadwork in Half Moon Bay and accidentally severed a fiber optic line.

“We ran into complications,” Comcast Senior Director of Communications Joan Hammel said. 

She explained the city of Half Moon Bay is in the process of moving overhead wiring underground, and Comcast is working to move its fiber optic line during the transition. 

“There is the potential for disruption while this work is being done,” Hammel said. “We take responsibility for this.” 

Services were reported out at about midnight and restored by about 1 p.m. The company estimates 15,000 customers were impacted. 

The company recently announced a significant investment to upgrade the backup power source for its local hub. However, that power source won’t help in the event the fiber optic lines are damaged.

Across the area, Coastsiders scrambled for a work-around.

The Half Moon Bay Library, which opened at 8 a.m., offered Internet and WiFi to patrons, and many people crowded inside. 

“We seem to be a popular destination when Comcast is out,” said library Branch Manager Annie Malley, who noted the library uses AT&T services. The library also has a few WiFi hotspots for those requiring a more secure access. “We’ve been giving out a few new library cards.”

Half Moon Bay resident Bill Balson said he found it ironic that there was an outage after reading in the Review about the investment Comcast has made to improve services. Balson, who sits on two boards, said he relies on the internet because he works from home. 

“So, without internet, I am relying on telephone or snail mail,” Balson said. 

He complained that he received multiple updates from Comcast on when services would be restored, but they proved to be inaccurate. 

Earlier this month, Comcast representatives began preliminary steps to explore possible options to bring in a redundant path. That could help in the event fiber optic lines are cut.

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